Key Ortega Magistrate’s Confession Should Invalidate Trials of Political Prisoners

Tamara Zamora, mother of political prisoner Amaya Coppens, points out that Rafael Solís’s letter confirms that there was no coup d’état and that her daughter and hundreds of others are “unjustly imprisoned.”

By Elizabeth Romero  (La Prensa)

Supreme Court Judge Rafael Solis (r) was considered one of the most trusted political operators of the presidential couple. He resigned both from the Court and from the FSLN last Thursday. File Photo: La Prensa PRENSA/ARCHIVO

HAVANA TIMES – Human rights defenders and activists, along with relatives of political prisoners in Nicaragua said that the statements made this week by former Supreme Court Justice Rafael Solís should have the immediate effect of invalidating the trials carried out by the Ortega-Murillo regime against political prisoners and ordering their release.

Tamara Zamora, mother of political prisoner Amaya Coppens, points out that Rafael Solís’s letter confirms that there was no coup d’état and that her daughter and others are “unjustly imprisoned.”   

In his letter of resignation, Solis made reference, among other things, to “mostly political” trials in which judges receive direct orders from El Carmen (the Ortega-Murillo residence) and the Attorney General’s Office.

The now ex-magistrate was one of Daniel Ortega’s closest allies in the Supreme Court, so much so that he stood for him as a witness when the dictator renewed his wedding vows with Rosario Murillo in 2005.   

Zamora recalled that Solis was not just an important political operator. His words prove that the struggle has been civic and that “those who were attacked, who were murdered, were civically protesting.”

 “They should be freed”

Relatives of political prisoners of Esteli demand their freedom. Photo: M Vasquez, La Prensa

Zamora further notes that the resignation letter confirms, “that our political prisoners, our children and family members are being unjustly imprisoned, more evidence that our children must be freed.”

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro, confirmed through his twitter account that he had received a letter from Mayra Tijerino, on behalf of 400 relatives of political prisoners currently being held in Nicaragua.

“Her son Eduardo is epileptic and is being held and tortured in a prison cell, under inhumane conditions.  We demand freedom for him and all of the political prisoners being held by the Ortega-Murillo regime,” said Almagro.

Regarding the statement by Rafael Solís, that judges receive direct orders from the Ortega-Murillo residence of El Carmen, Zamora said that “this is how their power works. It is totally authoritarian and top-down. It is not just now, they have closed ranks now, but this has been going on for some time – the closing off of spaces, and only responding to the interests of the presidential couple. Neither the judicial branch, the prison system, or the Attorney General’s office are able to act independently, they are all controlled by the presidential couple.”

Alvaro Leiva, president of the Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights Association, says that the statements made by Solís are cause to free all political prisoners, as it is clear that they were processed and sentenced with no legal basis.

Call to public officials

Speaking from exile in Costa Rica, Leiva called on other public officials to resign and not continue piling up criminal responsibility, noting that later “the arm of justice and human rights will reach the last corner of Nicaragua, leading to the investigation, and punishment of those who have committed crimes against humanity, genocide and the violation of human rights.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), Vilma Nunez, said that the statements made by Solis are a confession revealing evidence.”  

Rural leaders who received long prison sentences without any proof of the guilt. Foto: el19digital

“He was a key part of the strategy of the subjection and annulment of the judicial power, of submission to a dictatorship, and he is saying that now,” said Nunez who added that “the fact that he now has come out denouncing it does not exempt him from his responsibility in any way, on the contrary he is admitting it.”  

Nunez says that “the most dangerous thing at this moment is the judicial system, because it is the one that is acting directly with the people through the trials: imputing crimes that have not been committed and imposing completely exaggerated punishments.”

“What he said is practically a confession of what he was doing, of what he was part of, and the proof is that he even talks about his poor judges and how they are subjected to it. To me it seems that from the point of view of the destruction of the country’s judicial power, this letter provides strong evidence of that, and of the destruction of institutionality and constituionality in the country,” said Nunez. 

Marcos Carmona, executive director of the Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH) said that the content of the letter does not surprise him because it is exactly what his organization has been denouncing, the destruction of the judiciary. That the majority of judges answer to a political party and therefore the trials they have presided over should be annulled.    

Carmona is concerned that Solis discussed the possibility of a new civil war in the country.  Solis said, “I do not want a civil war for Nicaragua, but it is clear to me that you (Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo) are going that way, and given that the Army for some reason has not disarmed the [paramilitary] armed groups, it is logical to expect that the opposition groups will seek to arm themselves and the country will go back 40 years.” 

It’s about political processes

The Articulation of Social Movements and Organizations of the Civil Society, a member of the National Blue and White Unity alliance, issued a statement saying that Solis showed that there was never a coup, or any external aggression, but rather “an irrational use of force”,  that the regime has imposed “a State of Terror” and that they have made excessive use of the Ortega police and paramilitary forces, using weapons of war. And above all, he admits in his letter that the trials that the dictatorship has launched against the population are mostly political trials, where orders from the El Carmen presidential residence and the Attorney General’s Office lead to “absurd accusations… about crimes that the accused never committed.”

Ivania Alvarez, from the Committee for the Freedom of the Political Prisoners, said that the prosecutors have been like “owners of the trials”, where the judges pass sentence without evidence, because they receive “tacit orders to convict.” Alvarez believes that with Solís’ statements, all the trials “from the very first, should be annulled … because this comes from someone who was operating inside that machinery which is governed by the presidential couple.” And it will serve for international condemnation.


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