Brazil's Lula to lobby Ortega for imprisoned bishop's release

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he would lobby Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega to release a bishop imprisoned in the Central American state.
Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and a critic of the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, walks at Managua's catholic church where he is taking refuge alleging he had been targeted by the police, in Managua, Nicaragua May 20, 2022.
Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and a critic of the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, walks at Managua's catholic church where he is taking refuge alleging he had been targeted by the police, in Managua, Nicaragua May 20, 2022. REUTERS/Maynor Valenzuela/File photo

ROME (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Thursday he would personally lobby Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega to release a bishop who has been imprisoned in the Central American state.

Speaking to reporters a day after meeting Pope Francis, Lula said there was "no reason" for Bishop Rolando Alvarez to be prevented from carrying out his duties.

Lula said the Nicaraguan president should have "the courage" to recognize that a mistake had been made.

Alvarez, a vocal critic of Ortega, was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison in Nicaragua in February on charges that included treason, undermining national integrity and spreading false news.

(Reporting by Philip Pulella and Catarina Demony, writing by Federico Maccioni, editing by Crispian Balmer)

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