RC clergy caught up in Nicaragua violence
A VIOLENT attack on a group of Roman Catholic clergy in Nicaragua on Monday has been condemned by the Church, Vatican News reports. The Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, and his auxiliary, Jose Silvio Baez, and others, including journalists, were beaten by armed government officials outside the San Sebastian Basilica in Diriamba, where they were attempting to help anti-government protesters, who had been trapped inside under siege. At least 31 people were killed in the protests. Since the the government announced cuts to social security on 18 April, more than 300 people are reported to have died in clashes. The RC Church has been acting as a mediator. The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, announced on Saturday that he would not bring forward elections scheduled for 2021.
Human-rights lawyers still detained in China
THE charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has called for the release of the more than 300 lawyers, human-rights campaigners, and their colleagues and family who have been detained, interrogated, or imprisoned in China since July 2015 for “subverting state power”, among other reported crimes. Many of the lawyers, including Wang Quanzhang, had spent years defending religious communities, CSW said. Its chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, said: “China’s ongoing crackdown on human-rights lawyers is a blatant violation of international law and China’s own constitution. . . Human-rights lawyers, including those defending religious communities, are subject to appalling abuses against themselves and sometimes their families.”
Iranian Christian arrested for ‘spreading propaganda’ released
AN IRANIAN Christian, Mohammadali Yassaghi, also known as “Estifan”, has been released from prison after a judge in Babolsar, Iran, dismissed the charges against him, which included “spreading propaganda against the establishment”. Mr Yassaghi, who is part of the Church of Iran, was arrested in April as part of an “ongoing campaign targeting the Christian community through intimidation, spurious arrests and charges, and excessive sentencing”, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported this week. He was released last month. The chief executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said: “While we welcome Mr Yassaghi’s release, we reiterate our belief that he should never have been arrested in the first place. We are extremely concerned by the ongoing repression of minority religious communities in Iran.”