A Roman Catholic priest and noted poet who once served in Nicaragua's Sandinista government claims the party is persecuting him, after he was hit with an $800,000 judgment in a lawsuit.

Ernesto Cardenal split with President Daniel Ortega's Sandinista party in the 1990s, after accusing Ortega of monopolizing power.

The judgment against the 92-year-old Cardenal came in a lawsuit by a manager of a nonprofit group run by Cardenal until 1999. The manager claimed damages and pay, saying her employment contract was violated.

The lawyer who filed the suit represented Ortega when his step-daughter accused him of sexual abuse in 1998.

Cardenal wrote on his Facebook page that "political persecution is unceasing on the part of a judicial apparatus that is at the orders of the current government's political interests."