Another Nighttime Police Hunt for Nicaraguan Dissenters

The new modality of nighttime raids, arrests and charges. By PxMolina / Confidencial

Arrests in Managua, Masaya, Chinandega, Granada and Jinotega. Citizens were falsely accused and must sign in daily at police stations

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Ten nights after executing a wave of arrests, on Saturday, May 13, 2023, the regime’s Police carried out new nighttime detentions of suspected opponents of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship. Sources confirmed to Confidencial the arrest and accusation against four citizens. However, activists in exile assure that those arrested exceed ten.

On May 3, 2023, at night, at least 57 Nicaraguans, mostly opponents and critics of the Government, were arrested and presented in “express hearings” in the Courts of Managua. Prosecutors accused 30 of them for alleged crimes of “treason”. Of the remaining 27 there is no official information, and the human rights organizations assume that “they were only detained and then released.”

The coordinated first nighttime arrests took place in 13 of 15 departments and two autonomous regions of the country, according to the Blue and White Monitoring group. On May 13th, the operations were carried out in Managua, Masaya, Chinandega, Granada and Jinotega.

According to sources, Juan Carlos Marquez, a member of the Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN), was kidnapped Saturday by officers at his home in Nandaime, Granada, when he was returning from mass.

In Masaya, Yolanda Gonzales Escobar, who has had precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) since August 2022, was arrested after already suffering two raids in the previous year.

Regarding the arrest of Yolanda Gonzales, Yonarqui Martinez a defender of political prisoners, said that she was accused in a Managua court of “inciting hatred and propagating false news.” She is now in her home in Masaya and must report daily to the Police.

Other detainees were the lawyer and notary public, Alejandro Velez Brenes, who lives in Managua, and Donadin Varela, a member of the Liberal Movement of Somotillo, Chinandega, and former departmental president of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC).

They must report to the police daily

According to Martinez, the judicial authorities imposed “alternative measures” on the detainees to preventive detention, for which they must report daily at the police stations, from their places of origin, to “sign”.

Confidencial published this Sunday, May 14, 2023, the testimony of some citizens forced to sign daily in the delegations of their municipalities of origin. “Carmen” reported that, in her case, the attendance hours have been variable. The first time was at 10:00 a.m., but the following days she has done it between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. She, like the rest of the defendants, lives with the uncertainty of being kidnapped by the authorities again at any time.

“Carmen” has already been warned that she cannot be even five minutes late from the scheduled time for her signing, otherwise, police officers will go after her. The threat occurred one day when she arrived a little late and was punished by being held at the station for four hours, without justification.

“You can’t do anything, they make you show up to sign in from Monday to Sunday; who is going to work like that?” questions “Carmen” about this new method of repression. In her area, in the north of the country, there are police surveillance posts, with individuals in civilian clothes, who are alert night and day. This, she assures, adds to the constant patrolling that exists in the city and that they do especially around her home.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times