Eight priests under house arrest in Nicaragua reportedly transferred to El Chipote prison — By: Catholic News Agency

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ACI Prensa Staff, Oct 17, 2023 / 18:50 pm (CNA).

At least eight priests detained by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua were reportedly transferred over the weekend to the prison called El Chipote, known as a torture prison for political prisoners.

The independent Nicaraguan media La Prensa, El Confidencial, among others, confirmed the transfer through sources close to the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference.

The government of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, took these reprisals just days after Father Harving Padilla, who was pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Masaya, managed to go into exile (in a still undisclosed country) on Sept. 28.

A priest who preferred to remain anonymous told El Confidencial that eight priests who were under “house arrest” at Our Lady of Fatima National Seminary in Managua were transferred to El Chipote in the early hours of Sunday, Oct. 15.

“They took them away. They’re all in El Chipote,” he said.

Additionally, lawyers representing the priests previously told the same media outlet that the clerics’ relatives lacked updated information about their location, other than the fact that some of them were no longer at the seminary.

Sources close to the bishops’ conference informed La Prensa that the transferred priests are Fathers Cristóbal Gadea, Julio Ricardo Norori, Iván Centeno, Álvaro Toledo, Yesner Cipriano Pineda, Ramón Esteban Angulo Reyes, Eugenio Rodríguez Benavides, and Osman Amador Guillén.

There are currently 13 priests imprisoned, most of whom belong to the Diocese of Estelí, whose apostolic administrator is Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who was unjustly sentenced in February to 26 years and four months in prison as a “traitor to the homeland.” Just between Oct. 1 and Oct. 9, the dictatorial regime arrested six Catholic priests.

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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