Arrests of Young People and Judicial Farce Continues in Nicaragua

Illustration: Juan Garcia / Confidencial

in the face of UN and OAS concerns

By Gabriela Selser (dpa)

HAVANA TIMES – The Nicaraguan Prosecutor’s Office filed a formal accusation Tuesday against university leader Edwin Carcache and four other students arrested last week for participating in protests against the government, court sources reported.

Carcache and the group of detainees were presented at a first hearing before Judge Henry Morales, head of the Sixth Criminal Court District of Managua.

The 22-year-old student leader was arrested on September 4, two days after participating in an opposition march that ended with government paramilitaries in pickup trucks opening fire on the protestors and the subsequent burning of a police patrol vehicle.

Carcache is accused of eight crimes such as terrorism, aggravated robbery, illegal carrying of weapons, attempted murder and arson. His father filed a writ of habeas corpus for illegal detention.

Edwin Carcache is a member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, made up of students, business people and civil society who participated in a dialogue with the Government of Daniel Ortega to try to resolve the crisis that broke out last April.

Hundreds of mostly young Nicaraguans are being prosecuted for invented crimes, without due process or legal rights.

The conflict began with a student protest in mid-April and worsened after the violent action of the police and paramilitaries, which left more than 300 dead and 2,000 injured, according to human rights NGOs. The Government counts 198 dead.

Meanwhile, the Civic Alliance demanded that the government release Amaya Eva Coppens, a medical student of Belgian and Nicaraguan nationality, detained Monday by the police in the city of León, northwest of the capital.

On Tuesday morning, students from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) and dismissed doctors from the hospital in León demonstrated to demand the release of Coppens and student leaders Byron Estrada, Luis Quiroz and Cristopher Nairobi Olivas, arrested in the past August 25th.

“We want freedom for our political prisoners, freedom, freedom, freedom,” protesters shouted in front of the hospital center, which was surrounded by police and government supporters.

The opposition coalition also confirmed the arrest of student leader Yubrank Suazo, also detained Monday in Chinandega and taken to El Chipote, the dreaded interrogation prison in Managua.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, countries of America and Europe jointly expressed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH), Michelle Bachelet, their “deep concern” about the crisis in Nicaragua.

During the 39th session of the Human Rights Council being held in Geneva until September 28, the Ambassador of Argentina to international organizations in that Swiss city, Carlos Foradori, read the text in which 34 nations urged the Government to resume the dialogue.

“We demand the immediate cessation of disproportionate use of force, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal and arbitrary detentions, denial of access to medical services, violation of the freedoms of peaceful association and expression, criminalization of human rights defenders, journalists, students and protesters, “he said.

The OAS Permanent Council is scheduled to take up once again the crisis in Nicaragua at a special session on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Likewise, the countries including Canada, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Colombia, the United States and Costa Rica rejected the expulsion 11 days ago of the members of the UN Human Rights Mission in Nicaragua and considered it a “setback in the efforts to leave of the crisis. ”

Last week, the UN Security Council spoke for the first time about the situation in the Central American country, where daily arrests of students and protest leaders and participants persist.

In addition, Bachelet decried at the opening of the Council on Monday “the serious documented human rights violations” in Venezuela and Nicaragua, and said that in the latter country “the number of people fleeing” increases exponentially because of the conflict.

A new session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) is scheduled to take place in Washington on Wednesday to address the situation in Nicaragua.

The President of the Council, Rita Hernández, announced that the session will be held at the request of the Permanent Mission of Canada and on behalf of the Working Group that was created in June to follow up on the Nicaraguan crisis.

Over the weekend, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called on the international community to “suffocate the dictatorship that has been installed” in Nicaragua since the protests against Daniel Ortega’s government broke out.

A little over a week ago, the OAS strongly condemned in a statement “acts of violence, repression, violation of human rights and abuses against the Nicaraguan population, as well as selective persecution and arbitrary arrests.”