Ortega’s Offensive Against Former Political Prisoners

Lenin Salablanca and Brayan Cornejo denounce new political retaliation. Photo: Courtesy.

The former political prisoner Lenin Salablanca denounces “arbitrary” detention carried out by the Police; and opponent Brayan Cornejo faces a new accusation

By Ana Lucia Cruz (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Former political prisoners of Daniel Ortega’s regime are frequently finding themselves back in his jails. One of them, Lenin Salablanca, was “beaten” and “arbitrarily” arrested on Friday, December 4, by police in Juigalpa, Chontales. Another former political prisoner, Brayan Vladimir Cornejo, youth coordinator of the “Movimiento Campesino” (Peasant Movement) in Managua is also back behind bars. He was arrested again on November 29 under fabricated charges of “aggravated robbery.”

Milton Cornejo, Brayan’s father, denounced on Friday before the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH) that his son is once again accused “for crimes he did not commit.” He said Brayan was intercepted in Managua, when returning from delivering an order requested by the company where he works.

The Managua Prosecutor’s Office informed the father that “with this new crime” his son will lose the house arrest benefit he was granted last December 30, when he was released from prison along with 90 other political prisoners of the Ortega dictatorship.

[There are currently 109 political prisoners and rising in Ortega’s jails, according to family and human rights organizations.]

Brayan’s first arrest was in July 2018

Brayan Cornejo was arrested for the first time in July 2018 and was imprisoned for more than 18 months. He was accused with Walter Juarez and Pedro Gutierrez of “aggravated robbery and kidnapping,” after protesting against the Ortega regime.

Brayan’s father denounced that, during his second arrest, four men in civilian clothing, riding motorcycles, were the ones that conducted the “set up” operation against his son. In addition, he noted that Brayan was “severely” beaten at the time of his arrest. Likewise, during brutal interrogations carried out at a Managua police station.  

“They asked him about [farm leader] Medardo Mairena and activities of the National Coalition. During those interrogations they also kicked him in the chest and hit him in his left eye. The beating caused severe bruising on his body and internal bleeding in his eye,” he denounced.

Milton said he held the Nicaraguan Government, the National Police and the Judicial Branch responsible. “Because of their docile harmony with whatever crimes the police invent.”  He holds them accountable for “anything” that could happen to his son. Likewise, for other family members who have also been victims of threats and persecution.

The CPDH indicated that judge Gloria Maria Saavedra, will preside the preliminary hearing scheduled for the morning of December 14.

Police “dragged” and “arbitrarily” arrested Lenin Salablanca

Former prisoner Lenin Salablanca, denounced on social networks, that more than a half dozen officers arrived to besiege his home.

Salablanca told Confidencial that since early Friday, December 4, police harassment began in his home. He lives in the “Las Morenitas” neighborhood in Juigalpa, Chontales.

The former political prisoner said his arrest happened after he complained to the officers about their constant harassment.

“They put me in the patrol and while hitting me, said they weren’t going to leave marks on me like last time.” Such a tactic is used to make it harder to denounce and prove the beatings suffered.

Once they arrived at the police station, Salablanca was threatened with being criminalized again. The officers told him “you are going to stop going around screaming, that’s what we want.” They added “you never should have denounced us.”

After a few hours at the Juigalpa Police Station, they let Salablanca go with no explanation about the arrest. He also denounced the police “dragged him, beat him in his abdomen” and  caused a “wound on his lip.”

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) “strongly condemned” the police attack against Salablanca. They denounced this type of action as “arbitrary” and which violates the rights of ex-political prisoners.

Read more from Nicaragua here.


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