Today’s Young Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

Although the Ortega-Murillo regime released 222 of its political prisoners in February, there are still several dozens around the country.

By Republica 18

HAVANA TIMES – According to the Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua, at least 46 people are still held captive of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship. Among them are 9 young people under the age of 30, 8 of them men, and one woman.

The regime released most of its political prisoners in February of this year, 222 individuals who were banished, stripped of their nationality and subsequently of their possessions. However, not all who were in prison at the time were released, and several other citizens have since been abducted and incarcerated.

The youngest is currently 20 years old. Although others were captured since the beginning of the crisis, when they were even younger and have spent at least four of their birthdays in prison. The young prisoners are:

Kevin Emilio Castillo Prado, 29, originally from Leon. He was arrested for a second time on September 3, 2021, and remains in the León Penitentiary System. Castillo had already served a year of his sentence in Chinandega when he was captured for having participated in the 2018 cycle of protests. He was later released thanks to an amnesty ordered by the government in June 2019. Then in 2021, he was accused of fabricated common crimes, including “drug trafficking”, although he was also accused of terrorism, and sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Wilmer Augusto Duarte 20, is the youngest political prisoner still in jail. He was arrested on October 29, 2022 along with his father, Wilmer Duarte, in the municipality of Morrito, Río San Juan, where the latter worked as a cattle rancher. Both were sent to the Juigalpa-Cuisalá prison after being accused of alleged drug trafficking and illegal possession of weapons, and sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Misael de Jesus Escorcia Rugama, 23, originally from Sebaco. He was imprisoned in 2018 and was released by the 2019 amnesty. Then, on May 8, 2021, he was rearrested after the police raided his residence. Escorcia was charged with drug trafficking, a common charge to avoid admitting the holding of political prisoners.

Beyker Ferreti. Photo: RRSS

Beyker Enrique Ferreti Hernandez, 23, originally from Managua. He was arrested on October 20, 2022, and charged with the murder of Teyler Lorio, a 14-month-old baby, for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Nelson Lorio, father of the baby, rejected the proceedings against Ferreti and continues to point to the authorities as being solely responsible for the heinous crime. Beyker is being held ever since in the La Modelo prison in Tipitapa.

Axel Manuel Gonzalez Garay, 22, originally from Managua’s María Auxiliadora neighborhood, where he was captured on August 29, 2018, making him approximately 17 years old when he was arrested. Since then, he has been in La Modelo prison in Tipitapa.

Jonathan Snayder Lopez Guzman, 26, of Matagalpa. He was arrested on June 22, 2018, which makes him one of the longest-held political prisoners. He was 21 years old when he was arrested. He remains detained in La Modelo prison in Tipitapa.

Jeffrey Jose Ortega Orozco, 27, originally from Managua. He was arrested on January 18, 2023. He worked as an automotive painter until he was charged with various crimes, including theft and obstruction. He had already spent 7 months in La Modelo prison as a result of a previous arrest. He is still imprisoned in that penitentiary.

Anielka Garcia Zapata. Photo. RRSS

Anielka Lucía García Zapata, 27, originally from Matagalpa. She was arrested in Chichigalpa on April 4, 2023. Mother of two, she is an expert in marketing and advertising, and owner of the company Think Marketing. She was held in the District III jail of Managua and is still being prosecuted. Her supposed crime: allegedly designing a T-shirt with a message alluding to the 2018 Civic Rebellion.

Jasson Salazar. Photo: RRSS

Jasson Noel Salazar Rugama, 27, originally from Masaya. The student leader, a member of the April 19 University Movement, was captured in Managua on April 4, 2023. At the time of writing the Mechanism’s report, his whereabouts were unknown, but it is now known that he is being held in the La Modelo prison.

A source related to groups that monitor the situation of political prisoners reported that those who were imprisoned in District III were transferred to the La Modelo men’s and La Esperanza women’s prisons, although admits that there is not much information about their physical condition.

The source also noted that the Mechanism’s list for next month is likely to be higher and that relatives of political prisoners have advised caution regarding the information being disclosed.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.