Pope orders Nicaragua bishop back to Rome after death threats

Outspoken bishop Silvio Baez asked by Pope Francis to return to Vatican after assassination plot was revealed

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis is seen during the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square, at the Vatican February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo
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One of Nicaragua's most outspoken bishops has been asked by Pope Francis to return to Rome after death threats against him.

Bishop Silvio Baez has been a vocal critic of President Daniel Ortega and his government's crackdown on protesters over the past year.

Bishop Baez said having to leave Nicaragua filled him with "sadness and pain".

He said that the Pope recently told him he was needed in Rome but did say whether the decision was related to an assassination plan revealed by former US Ambassador Laura Dogu.

Bishop Baez said the US government warned him of the plot months ago.

He said he told the Pope that he had received several death threats in the past year but that they had not kept him from his work.

Last year the Organisation of American States adopted a resolution condemning human rights abuses committed by Nicaraguan police and armed pro-government civilians since protests against Mr Ortega began last April.

The resolution also criticised the harassment of Roman Catholic bishops.