Forced Disappearance of Three Nicaragua Political Prisoners

Carlos Bojorge, Freddy Quezada, and Brooklyn Rivera. | Photo: Confidencial

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The relatives of poet Carlos Bojorge have not heard anything about him for six months since he was detained on January 1, 2024. They have searched for him at the El Chipote police station, where political prisoners are frequently taken; at La Modelo prison in Tipitapa; and at various police stations in Managua. However, the regime’s authorities do not respond to where he is or in what condition he is in. They also don’t say if he has been charged in any court.

At Station Three, the police even recommended that they file a report for his disappearance, and the National Penitentiary System told them to search for him at the morgue of the Institute of Legal Medicine.

However, a photograph, leaked a couple of months ago by other prisoners of La Modelo prison, shows Bojorge in that prison wearing the blue uniform of inmates, yet the jailers denied he was there.

Image of Carlos Bojorge leaked by prisoners of La Modelo prison, authorities of the regime deny that he is detained in that prison. | Photo: Courtesy

“His mother went to the Penitentiary System, and the regime’s officials continued to argue that if he (Bojorge) were detained in that prison, they would gladly inform her,” said Alexandra Salazar, coordinator of the Legal Defense Unit.

Along with Carlos Bojorge, there are two other political prisoners in “forced disappearance by concealment of whereabouts,” according to the lawyers team. Former indigenous deputy Brooklyn Rivera, abducted on September 29, 2023, and university professor Freddy Quezada, detained on November 29, 2023, at his home in Managua.

“To date, the authorities continue to deny information about the whereabouts of Brooklyn Rivera, Freddy Quezada, and Carlos Bojorge. All communication between the detainees and their families and lawyers has been blocked,” warned the Legal Defense Unit in a statement. “Thus, there is no certainty about their conditions of detention, their state of health and life, or their personal safety, causing anxiety among their loved ones,” they added.

The lawyers note that forced disappearance by concealment of whereabouts is a “recurring practice” of the Ortega-Murillo regime, considered a violation of the human rights of political prisoners.

No Proof of Life

No family member has seen the Miskito leader and national president of the indigenous party Yatama, Brooklyn Rivera, since he was abducted eight months ago. The last image of him shows him handcuffed in the back of a truck shortly after the police detained him at his home in Bilwi, the capital city of the Northern Caribbean Region.

The Miskito leader Brooklyn Rivera in his last photo, after being detained at his home in Bilwi, Northern Caribbean Region. | Photo: Courtesy

His family learned that in October 2023, Rivera, 71 years old, was transferred to a hospital because he had high blood pressure. They also heard that he might have suffered a stroke, but they have not been able to corroborate this information.

Human rights defenders and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have demanded proof of life of the former indigenous deputy. However, the dictatorship has not reported on his whereabouts and has not explained if there are any charges against him to justify his detention.

“All personal exhibition resources continue to be rejected, and the Court of Appeals always refers to ‘the person being before the competent judicial authority,’ but no further information is available,” Salazar emphasized.

Meanwhile, no photographic proof has been seen of Professor Freddy Quezada, and no one has seen him since he was abducted six months ago, but it is presumed that he is imprisoned in La Modelo prison.

The relatives of Quezada had contact with a public defender who indicated to them at the beginning of 2024 that the professor had a trial scheduled for those days.

“A family member went to the judicial complex (in Managua), but they were not allowed in, and they were not given any information. When they left, the public defender mentioned that (Quezada) had been sentenced,” explained the lawyer.

According to Salazar, not even the public defender assigned by the state was able to see his client or view the case file because the hearing was held virtually.

Attempts to Silence Criticism

In Nicaragua, forced disappearance “adds to a series of tactics that the authorities have implemented to silence any criticism or opposition voice,” warns Amnesty International in its report *Where Are They? Forced Disappearance as a Strategy of Repression in Nicaragua”.

Article 232 of the Criminal Procedure Code establishes that the police have the duty to “inform the person at the time of detention of the reasons for their detention in detail and in a language they understand.”

Additionally, “they have the right to be advised by a defender of their choice, to designate one” and inform relatives or other persons related to the detainee who request it. This includes information about the police unit where they were taken and “allowing the detainee to inform their family or whomever they deem appropriate.” But none of these guarantees are being fulfilled for political prisoners in Ortega’s dictatorship.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

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