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Daniel Ortega's regime arrests Bishop Isidoro Mora

With the arrest of the highest authority of the diocese of Siuna, the Nicaraguan government closes out a year marked by the persecution of Catholics.

Composición de imágenes con Daniel Ortega sobre la izquierda y el obispo

(Cordon Press / Wikimedia Commons / Voz Media)

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"We denounce the kidnapping of Monsignor Isidoro Mora by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, which continues with its constant persecution against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua," the organization Libertad Religiosa Nicaragua wrote on social media on Wednesday afternoon. Various sources later confirmed the arrest, such as Arturo McFields Yescas, an exiled former Nicaraguan ambassador, who detailed:

He was arrested for sending a message and prayers for the town's bishop Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, who has been in prison for more than 500 days.

Martha Patricia Molina, human rights activist and author of the report "Nicaragua: ¿Una Iglesia Perseguida?" ("Nicragua: A Persecuted Church?"), assured that the bishop of the diocese of Siuna was detained when he was on his way to perform confirmations in a local parish, the Parroquia de la Cruz de Rio Grande. With him, two seminarians were also arrested: Alester Saenz and Tony Palacio.

Likewise, Molina confirmed that the bishop had recently said that he had Rolando Álvarez in his prayers, and that "in Nicaragua, all bishops, priests and lay people are prohibited from mentioning the name of Bishop Álvarez. ... I hope that Daniel Ortega's criminal police respect the life and physical integrity of the bishop and the two seminarians."

At the moment, authorities have yet to comment on the arrest.

Persecution in Nicaragua

The case of Bishop Isidoro Mora is the latest attack by the government against the Catholic Church, in what has been a particularly combative year. By May, Ortega had already suspended diplomatic relations with the Vatican, after Pope Francis described the Latin American regime as a "rude" and "Hitlerian" dictatorship. Ortega also froze the church's bank accounts, accusing it of money laundering.

On July 5, he released Bishop Rolando Álvarez after almost a year in prison. On July 6, he returned to prison for refusing to go into exile. Although he was not the only religious official locked up by Ortega, it was the case that generated the most public attention. He was also reportedly the only bishop that had been detained, until this week.

The harassment of Catholics by the ruling party also included prohibiting processions, the confiscation of the the Central American University's assets and, later, the cancellation of the Company of Jesus Association of Nicaragua's legal status.