After refusing to leave with the rest of the 222 political prisoners exiled/released to the U.S., Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez was sentenced to 26 years in prison in Nicaragua. According to media reports quoted by NPR, “Álvarez stopped at the stairs leading to the airplane [to the US] and said, ‘Let the others be free. I will endure their punishment.’”
In a speech confirming the release-exile of the 222 political prisoners, Ortega himself said that the Nicaraguan bishop had been taken to Cárcel La Modelo, a prison where most political prisoners opposing Ortega’s regime are held. According to local Nicaraguan reports, he was sent to isolation in cell Number 300, also known as the “infiernillo” (Spanish for “tiny hell”), a maximum-security cell.
Sources affiliated with the Church told Despacho 505, a Nicaraguan independent news service, that “people from the prison center have said that he was taken there, but that he is confined in cell number 300, completely isolated.”
The source also stated that he is kept in isolation to prevent him from having contact with any other political prisoner.
But, according to Jaime Septién’s article in the Spanish edition of Aleteia, local media reports now claim that prison personnel have told Bishop Álvarez’s sister, Vilma, that he is not there.
Septién explains this might be just another way to keep the Bishop in strict isolation. However, the article goes on, Nicaraguan political exile Lesther Alemán reported what the guards said.
“Doña Vilma arrived at the main gate of ‘La Modelo’ bringing water for her brother, but the prison personnel did not accept it, explaining that he was not there,” Alemán tweeted.
Alemán also asked international organizations such as the International Red Cross to visit the prison to make sure Bishop Álvarez is not only there, but in good health.