Nicaragua shutters Catholic radio formerly run by prominent critic

(Reuters) - Nicaragua's government decreed on Tuesday the closure and seizure of assets of Radio Maria, the station formerly run by Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a prominent government critic now in exile at the Vatican.

Radio Maria was one of Nicaragua's few remaining media controlled by the Catholic Church, which has seen authorities seize many of its assets since clerics served as mediators during mass protests in 2018.

In an interior ministry resolution published in the government's official gazette on Tuesday, Radio Maria was accused of "non-compliance."

"They did not report financial statements for the periods 2019-2023," the resolution said, adding that the radio's board of directors has been "expired since September 2021."

Nicaragua's body of Roman Catholic bishops did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Alvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, forcefully criticized the government's deadly response to mass protests in 2018, and was convicted of treason and sentenced to a 26-year prison term last year before being expelled to the Vatican.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Editing by Anthony Esposito)