Nicaragua dictatorship condemns 11 Christian leaders to long prison sentences, demands $880 million from them

Harshly punished for speaking out against tyranny

From our Bureau of Socialist Tolerance, Compassion and Social Justice with some assistance from our Bureau of News Stories That Flew Under the Radar

Wow. When it comes to important news stories that don’t get much attention, this one reveals a lot about the priorities of the world’s news media. Back in mid-March, Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship sent about a dozen Protestant pastors and evangelists to jail in order to silence them. The men received long prison sentences and were also ordered to pay Ortega, Inc. nearly a billion dollars they were accused of obtaining through money laundering.

They were also denied contact with the outside world, including their families. Needless to say, these clerics had dared to criticize the dictatorship’s human rights abuses and corruption. Just like Cuba . . .so socialist, so compassionate, so tolerant, so just.

From Catholic News Agency

The dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, in Nicaragua sentenced 11 Christian leaders to 12 to 15 years in prison and ordered them to pay $880 million. They have also been barred from having contact with their families and lawyers. 

The trial took place in wake of the leaders’ success in bringing together thousands of people to pray in public venues, which the Sandinista regime apparently perceived as a threat.

According to Statista, Nicaragua is about 45% Catholic with close to 38% of the people belonging to various Protestant groups.

The sentence, announced on March 19, is for “sham charges of money laundering,” according to a press release from ADF International, an organization that defends religious freedom and has taken up the legal defense of the 11 leaders. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International has already taken the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

ADF International has asked the IACHR to require that Nicaragua guarantee the health, life, and well-being of the 11 convicted leaders while the case with the court is in progress.

The 11 sentenced leaders, who must individually pay $80 million, are a married couple, an evangelist, and eight pastors linked to the group Puerta de la Montaña (Mountain Gateway), founded in Texas and which has been working in Nicaragua since 2015 with the permission of the Nicaraguan regime.

One of these 11 is a man who lives in an adobe house with no electricity and who cooks his food with firewood.

Four United States senators — Rick Scott, Ted Cruz, Katie Britt, and Tommy Tuberville — have asked the Biden administration to “implement strong, targeted sanctions following the repeated and escalating violations of religious freedom in Nicaragua.”

In addition, Congressman Robert Aderholt sent a letter to the Nicaraguan ambassador in the United States signed by 58 members of Congress pointing out that it was for reasons of religious persecution that the leaders were detained, “and it is blatant human rights violations that have kept them detained — these pastors must be released immediately.”

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