(CNN Spanish) — Father Uriel Vallejos, a priest of the Diocese of Matagalpa, denounced this Friday from exile and through his social networks the arrest of the priest Enrique Martínez Gamboa, who joins other Catholic ministers detained this year by the Nicaraguan National Police, including the Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Alvarez Lagos.
“Yesterday at 5:00 PM, the Parish Priest of the Santa Martha Parish, Managua, was kidnapped. Father Enrique Martínez G,” Vallejos said on his Twitter account.
“The Priests and the Catholic Church, we demand the liberation and the cessation of the persecution against the Church and the clergy. Justice, freedom and democracy”, demanded the religious.
Vallejos added to his Twitter account a video in which Father Martínez Gamboa is seen addressing a message to the participants of the self-convened march in solidarity with the Mothers of April, on May 30, 2018. That protest ended in the center of Managua with an armed attack in which more than a dozen students died, according to reports from the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh).
“Here we have a clean heart, not hands stained with blood like others. Do not be cowardly. Long live Nicaragua, long live the mothers of those who fell in 1919, long live the doctors, the decent journalists,” Martínez expressed on that occasion.
For its part, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights expressed in a statement published on its Twitter account: “With him there are already 10 imprisoned priests plus those who have had to leave the country, fleeing criminalization and jail.”
The Catholic Church has not commented on the arrest of Martínez Gamboa. A priest from the Archdiocese of Managua who asked not to be identified told CNN that the priest was detained in Managua but that he is incardinated in the Diocese of León, although Bishop Sándigo has not commented on the matter.
The National Police has not officially reported the arrest of the priest so far.
The arrest of Bishop Álvarez and eight other priests, including Martínez Gamboa, is part of a complex context for the Catholic Church, at odds with the Ortega government, which has called the bishops who have denounced violations of crimes “coup plotters” and “terrorists.” human rights since the start of the 2018 protests.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights reported that a Managua judge scheduled for December 1 the oral and public trial against 6 religious and a layman who, together with Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, served 72 days of detention this Friday on charges of allegedly conspiracy to commit undermining of national integrity and propagation of false news.