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Lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina has charged that the Nicaraguan regime has “kidnapped” Father Osman José Amador Guillén for requesting prayers for the bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez. 

The prelate began serving a 26-year, four-month prison term in February, charged with being a “traitor to the homeland.” Latin American human rights advocates use the term “kidnapped” (i.e. abducted) for an arbitrary arrest without any legal justification.

In a message sent to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Molina, the author of the report “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?”, stated that the priest “was kidnapped by the Sandinista Police” the night of Sept. 8.

“There was no court order that justified his arrest. His whereabouts are unknown. He has recently asked for prayers for Bishop Rolando Álvarez, and that’s why they have kidnapped him,” she stated.

According to the Nicaraguan media El Confidencial, “sources from the Diocese of Estelí said that the kidnapping occurred around 10 in the evening, when a group of riot police stormed into the Catholic church where members of the clergy were meeting.”

The priest was the last director of Cáritas Estelí before the Sandinista regime shut it down in February 2022. Molina fears that Amador will be implicated in the case of the priests Eugenio Rodríguez Benavides and Leonardo Guevara Gutiérrez, who were arrested in May.

According to the local press, they are being investigated regarding “administrative matters of the defunct Diocesan Caritas of Estelí” and are currently in Managua.

Priests are under surveillance

In a statement to ACI Prensa in August, Molina explained that in Nicaragua “the parishes are watched 24 hours a day by infiltrators” from the regime.

“In fact, the homilies of the priests are always recorded and sent to what is known as El Carmen, which is the place where the dictatorial couple Ortega-Murillo lives” and where the sermons of the parish priests are analyzed.

The lawyer also reported that the Sandinista regime has “forbidden the mention of Bishop Rolando Álvarez in Masses and prayers.”

Lay groups, priests, and seminarians secretly pray for the bishop of Matagalpa, “because whoever mentions him in the homily, in the Mass … he is immediately visited by the police” and can even be arrested.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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