#BreakingNews Imprisoned Priests and Laity among 222 Released by Nicaragua Except Bishop Rolando Álvarez

The United States government has secured the release of 222 political prisoners from Nicaragua. They arrived in the USA on February 9th, 2023. Among the prisoners were the 4 priests and laity arrested and sentenced to over 10 years in prison by the government of President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. The priests are Fr. Ramiro Reynaldo Tijerino Chávez, age 50, rector of the John Paul II University; Sadiel Antonio Eugarrios Cano, age 35, former vicar of the Matagalpa cathedral; and José Luis Díaz Cruz, age 33, vicar of the Matagalpa cathedral. A deacon named Raúl Antonio Vega González, age 27; the 2 seminarians: Darvin Esteylin Leiva Mendoza, age 19, and Melkin Antonio Centeno Sequeira, age 23; and the photographer Sergio José Cárdenas Flores, age 32. However,  Bishop Rolando Álvarez of the Diócesis de Matagalpa has decided to stay, in solidarity with his people, and was sent to prison. 
Release of Political Prisoners from Nicaragua
 FEBRUARY 9, 2023 Today, the United States welcomes 222 individuals who had been imprisoned by the Government of Nicaragua for exercising their fundamental freedoms and have endured lengthy unjust detentions. The release of these individuals, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, by the Government of Nicaragua marks a constructive step towards addressing human rights abuses in the country and opens the door to further dialogue between the United States and Nicaragua regarding issues of concern. Today’s development is the product of concerted American diplomacy, and we will continue to support the Nicaraguan people.
The individuals released from Nicaraguan custody include political and business leaders, journalists, civil society representatives, and students. Upon the release of these individuals from Nicaragua, the United States facilitated their safe transport to Dulles International Airport. The individuals arrived today, and the United States is providing medical and legal support to ease their arrival. Source: https://ni.usembassy.gov/release-of-political-prisoners-from-nicaragua/

The Organization of American States issued this Statement of the OAS General Secretariat on the Arrival of 222 Nicaraguan Political Prisoners in the United States

  February 9, 2023

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) today welcomes the arrival in the United States as refugees of 222 former Nicaraguan political prisoners. Their freedom is great news, especially for their family and friends, and also for defenders of human rights and democracy in the Americas.

The General Secretariat recognizes and applauds the role played by the United States Government in the operation, welcoming and facilitating the transportation of the former political prisoners. The efforts of President Biden's administration, successfully completed today, are an example of effective political work in favor of human rights. The release of these political prisoners is also a demonstration that international pressure is essential in dealing with dictatorships.

What happened today is not, however, a “liberation.” These people were unjustly imprisoned -some for years- for thinking, expressing, or writing opinions contrary to the prevailing regime in Nicaragua. Many of them were tortured and cut off from all contact with the outside world.

This group of people has now been sentenced in trials without any guarantees for alleged "treason against the homeland" and "incitement to violence, terrorism and economic destabilization,” among other alleged crimes. They were stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality and all their citizenship rights "in perpetuity." They arrive in the United States supposedly “deported” from their own country.

The crimes committed against these people must not go unpunished, and their rights must be restored as soon as possible. In Nicaragua there are still people imprisoned and tortured for thinking differently, there are still people who live daily in fear of being arrested, tried and sentenced without any legal or procedural guarantees. The Nicaraguan regime continues to be oblivious to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights, and we must continue denouncing its abuses.

Today there are 222 people who can breathe free with their families and friends, after having been unjustly imprisoned and subjected to the worst imaginable treatment, and that is cause for satisfaction. However, there is still a long way to go until all Nicaraguans, without exception, can once again enjoy freedom in their own country.

The path is clear and depends entirely on the Nicaraguan regime: mainly, to return to democracy, to democratic institutions, respecting the fundamental rights of Nicaraguans and calling free and fair elections, with international observation.