Nicaragua: Priest Critic of Ortega Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

The Nicaraguan priest Oscar Danilo Benavidez Davilacritical of the government of Daniel Ortega, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime of conspiracy and propagation of false news to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua and society, reported this Saturday the digital portal Office 505.

The 49-year-old priest, who has been detained since August 14, was sentenced by the judge Nancy del Carmen Aguirre GudieI, head of the Tenth Criminal Trial District Court of Managua, in a hearing held behind closed doors, in accordance with Office 505who had access to the ruling.

The court also imposed on the priest Benavidez Dávila, parish priest of the Espíritu Santo parish, in the municipality of Mulukuku, in the Autonomous Region of the North Caribbean of Nicaragua, the payment of a fine of 49,917 córdobas (25,676 Mexican pesos)

According to the breakdown of the sentence, Judge Aguirre Gudiel imposed the religious five years in prison for the crime of conspiracy and undermining national integrity, and another five for the crime of spreading false news.

The priest Benavidez Dávila was found guilty on January 16 and during the exchange of sentence requests the Public Ministry requested an 8-year sentencefive for the crime of conspiracy and three for spreading false news.

The presbyter is the first Nicaraguan priest convicted under the figure of conspiracy and fake news.

According to the online page of the Judiciary, the sentence against the Nicaraguan priest was read on January 24, when he was transferred from the National Penitentiary System, in Tipitapa, a neighboring municipality of Managua, to the Judicial Complex.

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The technical defense of the religious requested copies of the file to prepare the appeal.

Benavidez is one of ten priests accused in Nicaragua, including Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, abducted by police officers on August 19, together with four other priests, who have already been convicted, from the episcopal palace of the Diocese of Matagalpa after having been confined for 15 days.

Álvarez, 56 years old and who is under “reservoir domiciliary” in Managua, According to the National Police, he will face trial on March 28.

Bishop Rolando Alvarez. Image: Screenshot

President Ortega called “terrorists” to the Nicaraguan bishops who acted as mediators of a national dialogue with which a peaceful solution to the crisis that the country has been experiencing since April 2018 was sought.

Relations between the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan Catholic Church have been marked by friction and mistrust in the last 43 years.

The Catholic community represents a 58.5% of the 6.7 million inhabitants of Nicaragua, according to the last national census.

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