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Montevideo, March 27th 2023 - 16:44 UTC



Nicaraguan regime releases pictures of political prisoners

Thursday, September 1st 2022 - 10:30 UTC
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Following their arrest, Ortega was easily reelected in November  Following their arrest, Ortega was easily reelected in November

The Nicaraguan regime of Daniel Ortega has been criticized Wednesday by human rights organizations after pictures of the country's political prisoners were released.

These opponents have been jailed for around a year or more and it was the first time their relatives and friends could have a glimpse of their health status.

The NGOs dubbed the photo display as a circus on the part of the Ortega administration that has been going on for two days. A dozen opponents were shown Wednesday for the first time since their detention during judiciary hearings. The images were broadcast by official media, as happened on Tuesday with 10 other detainees. They were wearing blue inmate uniforms.

Ortega, a 76-year-old former guerrilla in power since 2007, accuses opponents of wanting to overthrow him. “Hearings of imprisoned criminals, coup plotters, terrorists, and traitors to the homeland continue,” wrote the pro-government El 19 Digital website.

The government insisted the detainees were in good health and not dying as the “mercenary press” had reported, but their relatives underlined a considerable weight loss, according to the pictures of people such as former presidential candidates Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Medardo Mairena, and Miguel Mora, who were arrested before the November 2021 elections, thus clearing the way for Ortega's victory.

Other detainees whose pictures were released included student leader Lesther Alemán of the 2018 uprisings, Dora María Téllez, the 68-year-old and former comrade of Ortega in the Sandinista guerrilla, La Prensa newspaper manager Juan Lorenzo Holmann, and banker Luis Rivas.

Since mid-2021 a group of 46 opponents and critics of Ortega were arrested and accused of crimes such as “undermining sovereignty” or money laundering. This year they received sentences of up to 13 years.

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) denounced in its networks that in order to expose the prisoners they resort to a criminal procedure that “does not exist”, such as the so-called “informative hearings”. Cenidh recalled that all the detainees were notified of their sentences, which were ratified by the appeals court, and that the appeals for cassation are being processed in the Supreme Court of Justice.

“The only purpose of the presentation of the political prisoners is to wash the regime's face, which is subjected to international pressure and internal pressure from relatives,” said Juan Carlos Arce, of the Human Rights Collective Nicaragua Never Again, on social media.

The first photos exhibited correspond to Suyén Barahona Cuan, president of the Unión Democrática Renovadora (Unamos). She was sentenced to eight years in prison for “undermining national integrity”. The woman is prevented from seeing her only son, who is 5 years old.

An image of Ana Margarita Vigil, a lawyer for Unamos, was later released. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity”.

Pictures of Tamara Dávila Rivas were also released. She has been detained for 445 days in a cell that has no bars but a completely sealed door, according to reports.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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