Nicaragua: “We Don’t Know If They Will Make it Out Alive”

…lament relatives of Daniel Ortega’s political prisoners

Illustration: Confidencial

Uncertainty and anxiety increase after the death of political prisoner Hugo Torres, while in custody of the Ortega regime.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Associations of relatives of political prisoners launched this Monday “a cry of alert” for the deteriorating health of their family members. “They are in great risk of dying” due to the appalling conditions in which they are locked up and the “negligence” of the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo that denies them the required medical attention.

After the death of retired general and political prisoner, Hugo Torres Jimenez, who was in custody of the Nicaraguan State, the relatives of the prisoners of conscience expressed their “immense anguish and concern” that they feel knowing that their relatives are at the mercy of the same regime that captured them “arbitrarily” and does not respect their human rights.

“We speak to the people of Nicaragua, the Church, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights organizations and mechanisms, and the international community, with immense anguish and concern. Due to the lack of timely and pertinent medical care, we believe that the lives and physical and emotional integrity of our family members being held in the different prisons of the National Penitentiary System and the ‘El Chipote’ jail complex are in grave danger,” denounced the relatives in a statement.

In “El Chipote” and in the other prisons, “there are several of our family members who suffer from chronic illnesses such as hypertension, bradycardia, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and cancer,” states the document read by the relatives of the prisoners. They assure that “for months they have not received specialized medical care, and as a result, at different times they have suffered from dizziness, fainting, and overall weakness and deterioration. Similarly, some of our family members are older adults who are not receiving the necessary attention and care.”

In addition, the relatives point out, “we have documented ailments that have only begun to manifest themselves since our family members have been under the custody and tutelage of the Nicaraguan State. In particular, they are suffering psychological effects from the precarious and inhuman conditions of imprisonment in which they are being held, conditions that don’t comply with even the minimum prison standards and human rights regulations, such as, among others, prolonged periods of isolation and solitary confinement and lack of access to adequate and timely health care.”

They demand immediate release

In the Statement, the Organization of Victims of April, United Group or Political Hostages, Association of Family Members of Political Prisoners, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners and Family members of political prisoners in El Chipote since May 2021, also demanded the “immediate release” of the political prisoners.

“Given this alarming situation, and the serious precedent represented by the recent tragic events, we demand the State that has our relatives, which has our family members under its guardianship and therefore is responsible for their lives and well-being, immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners with all the accompanying guarantees, because they are innocent and should never have been arbitrarily detained in the first place,” they urge.

In the document, the families also advocated for the “political prisoners” who are in the “La Modelo” prison, in Tipitapa, where many “are in serious health condition, suffering from dry cough, flu symptoms, fever, bone and head pain, vomiting and diarrhea.”

They also expressed their solidarity with the family of Hugo Torres, who was one of the most daring Sandinista guerrilla fighters in the struggle against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza, and who helped rescue Ortega from jail in 1974.

Torres, who was Vice President of the Democratic Renovation Union (UNAMOS, formerly MRS), is the second political prisoner to die while in custody of the Nicaraguan State. Previously, Eddy Montes was killed in the “La Modelo” prison, in May 2019. In addition, the political prisoner Justo Rodríguez, from the island of Ometepe, was released totally quadriplegic in December 2020.

“A terrible humanitarian crisis”

Grethel Gomez, of the Organization of Victims of April, emphasized that also the relatives of the political prisoners are going through “a terrible humanitarian crisis,” since some of the inmates have been locked up for more than two years and they “do not have the money to be taking medicines” to the prison system and “the little they take to their relatives the guards do not always give them.”

Ana Lucia Alvarez, sister and niece of political prisoners Tamara Davila and Ana Margarita Vijil, also stressed that “this is a cry of alert” from the relatives of the prisoners of conscience because, she recalled, “under the tutelage of the State they killed Eddy Montes, Hugo Torres died, and we do not if our relatives are going to be handed over to us in a coffin.”

Similarly, Victoria Cardenas, wife of political prisoner Juan Sebastián Chamorro, shared the concern for her imprisoned relatives -whom they have not seen for 25 days-, and who are being tried and sentenced for crimes of treason without even being able to defend themselves.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times



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