The Ordeal of a Nicaraguan Jailed Again by the Dictatorship

Political prisoner Abdul Montoya. Photo / Courtesy.

After his arrest, they created a false profile on social networks to fabricate “evidence” in a new political trial against him.

By Octavio Enriquez (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The life of Abdul Montoya Vivas turned into a desperate labyrinth in the last 24 days, caused by authorities of the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. While he is being prosecuted for “illegal possession of weapons” in the department of Jinotega, the Police are holding him locked in a cell in Managua’s District III, 85 miles away, generating enormous uncertainty about his legal situation.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted him on April 6, 2023, when he had been kidnapped for three days. The charge was formally filed on April 11th and was registered under a case without detailing in the cover sheet who the prosecutor is, but stating the judge’s name.

It is Diana Isabel Jarquin, a local judge of Jinotega, daughter of Francisco Jarquin, known as “Chico Plomo” for his ventures against Somoza, in which he shared experience with Montoya.

According to witnesses of his arrest, Montoya led a clandestine life that was interrupted by the authorities on Easter Monday, when they removed him from a bus in Jinotega, frisked him and found money and a list of medicines he was going to buy.

Sources linked to the Police revealed that Montoya was asked for the key to the room where he was staying and during the inspection, they found a 9-millimeter gun, an olive-green backpack and several caps to protect from the cold which, according to the investigator’s report, became a “balaclava.”

Abdul Montoya Vivas, 62, is a former anti-Somoza fighter who questioned the FSLN during the mass protests of 2018. He was imprisoned between August of that year and June 11, 2019.

He suffered besiegement and lived with his freedom threatened until the day of his capture, which occurred when the regime arbitrarily detained 30 people during Easter Week, according to the Blue and White Monitoring.

He is the eighth person prosecuted by the dictatorship, of the 21 captured in that wave of repression. The state accused exiled architect Arnoldo Horacio Guillen on April 24, 2023, for allegedly distributing blue and white stickers in Chinandega in the context of the fifth anniversary of the April Rebellion.

Six other prisoners of conscience were also prosecuted, without specifying the crimes in a Managua Criminal Court. A system under control of the regime, in whose structure the judges have subordinated their decisions to the will of the ruling party, integrating a judicial machinery to carry out sentences against political prisoners.

Fake Facebook profile created to fabricate evidence

Legal sources consulted by Confidencial warned about the creation of a false profile of Abdul Montoya in the social network Facebook, which was made five days after his arrest, and which could be used to fabricate “evidence” that could result in him facing “other crimes.”

From that false profile, Confidencial verified that five publications were made that could compromise him, given the current context of persecution of opponents. They were made on April 8 between 4:35 and 7:09 pm, on the same day he was curiously transferred by the Police to Managua.

“Nicaraguan brothers and sisters we need to rise up with arms to put an end to this sanctioned and corrupt Police of the dictators. Enough of so many abuses against the population. We must answer them with the weapons they took from us in 2018, those bloody murderers. An eye for an eye, a message reads.

The version is questionable not only because he was already under arrest at the time of publication, but also because it could expose him to a greater legal risk.

The National Assembly approved in 2020 a law punishing “fake news”, with which the regime imprisoned dozens of opponents in 2021. They were also charged with the crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity,” the legal term to stigmatize them as “traitors to the homeland.”

Police didn’t take him to court hearings

Montoya has not been able to appear before the local judge of Jinotega. On Thursday, April 27, 2023, the hearing of the case was scheduled, but just like the one scheduled for April 20, it could not take place because the Police did not guarantee the presence of the accused through “a videoconference,” as ordered by judge Jarquin in an official letter sent to Commissioner General Marvin Castro, chief of police in Jinotega.

Yader Morazan, a specialist in the administration of justice and who has followed the prison situation of Montoya and other political prisoners of Ortega, denounced in his social networks that the former combatant is in a “legal limbo.”

“The judge has been rescheduling hearings for days and asking District 3 of the Managua Police to transfer the recaptured political prisoner Abdul Montoya to Jinotega, who is in a legal limbo,” regretted Morazan.

On February 9, 2023, in a unilateral decision, Ortega decided to release 222 political prisoners and banished them to the United States. There are still 36 political prisoners, among them the Bishop of Matagalpa Rolando Alvarez, to whom should be added all those accused by the dictatorship after the Easter Week abductions.

According to those who knew him, Montoya participated from a young age in the student movement and in the insurrection against the Somoza dictatorship. He shared fighting scenarios with other historical Sandinista fighters such as Cresencio Rosales, Jose Gonzalez and Sadie Rivas, mother of the former political prisoner Tamara Davila.

In April 2018, he was outraged by the violence against retirees when they protested against a not consulted social security reform that affected their pensions. He took to the streets with thousands of citizens. He demanded the resignation of the highest authorities. He ended up imprisoned, accused of murdering Lenin Diaz Mendiola, a former client of his store in Matagalpa.

He identified himself as “Julio Valenzuela”

He was released on June 11, 2019, benefiting from an amnesty law with which Ortega protected his repressors. According to sources informed about the new accusation against Montoya, after his release, he worked in Jinotega under the name of “Julio Valenzuela,” an identity with which he tried to lead a discreet life.

However, that routine was interrupted when he went to run errands in the city. That is the reason why in the indictment he is charged under two names. The “public security of the State of Nicaragua” declares itself “victim” of both “Abdul Montoya Vivas and/or Julio Valenzuela.”

Former political prisoner Ricardo Baltodano, a member of the Reflection Group of Former Political Prisoners, the government action seems to be “an arbitrary act with the smell of political vengeance,” given Montoya’s political profile.

Baltodano denounced the dictatorship’s intention by transferring him to Managua, while he is prosecuted in Jinotega, is to keep him away from his family and to make regular visits to which he is entitled more difficult.

The two know each other well. Baltodano and Montoya were imprisoned in 2018 and 2019 in the La Modelo prison, where Baltodano was able to verify the health problems of the recaptured prisoner: he suffers from diabetes, high-blood pressure, and is also “claustrophobic.”

“This is a regime (Ortega’s) that is above the law and tramples the law. It is its day-to-day policy. Abdul Montoya is an elderly man who should be free. He has not committed any crime and was working away from the mundane noise and daily political activities,” confirmed Baltodano.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times