Amnesty Int. on Expelling of Nicaraguan Political Prisoners

A total of 222 opposition prisoners were forcibly expelled from Nicaragua

Activists and supporters wait for the arrival of political prisoners from Nicaragua at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on February 9, 2023, after they were released by the Nicaraguan government. – More than 200 detained members of Nicaragua’s opposition arrived in the US after being freed by authorities, family members and opposition figures said. Nicaragua’s parliament voted Thursday to strip the political opponents of their nationality. (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP)

“The 222 people expelled from Nicaragua join tens of thousands of others who have been forced into exile from the country.

HAVANA TIMES – On 9 February 2023, Amnesty International received information that 222 Nicaraguan citizens, formerly being held under arbitrary detention in Nicaragua for exercising their rights, had been stripped of their nationality and deported to the United States.   

In response to the expulsion of people, previously arbitrarily detained in Nicaragua, to the United States, Erika-Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said the following:  

“While we share our excitement at the fact that those removed to the United States are no longer behind bars in Nicaragua, we are shocked and saddened that their detention has culminated in such a disturbing fashion. Those detained spent days, months, and years in arbitrary detention, under extreme conditions, and today have been forced into exile solely for demanding human rights.  

“The 222 people expelled from Nicaragua today join tens of thousands of others who have been forced into exile from the country. In this context, the international community should be under no illusion. The devastating human rights crisis in the country that began with severe repression of protests in April 2018 is not over. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the press remain in force. Dozens of individuals reportedly remain in arbitrary detention.  Restrictions on the right to protest and the right to freedom of association are still in effect; and the human rights violations and crimes against humanity that have been committed in the context of the crisis remain in total impunity. The international community must redouble its efforts and push for a Nicaragua in which justice and human rights are guaranteed for all. 

“While we welcome the decision of the United States to offer protection for those who have faced expulsion from Nicaragua, we are concerned that the expansion of Title 42 and other restrictive immigration policies to Nicaraguans in recent weeks may prevent them and others at risk from exercising their right to seek and receive asylum. We call on US authorities to uphold the right to asylum for all those forcibly expelled from Nicaragua today, and for others in need of protection, regardless of the existence of other pathways.” 

The Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua registered 235 people detained for exercising their rights in the country since April 2018 prior to the deportations that took place on 9 February. According to local organizations, dozens may still remain in detention.