Feminists Call Attention to “Dire” Situation of Ortega’s Political Prisoners

They call on the international community “to condemn the different manifestations of repression in Nicaragua.”

By EFE / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Representatives of the Meso-American Initiative of Women Human Rights Advocates termed “critical” the situation of ten women political prisoners in Nicaragua. They asked the international community to exert every effort to achieve their release.

“The situation of our colleagues in Nicaragua continues to be critical. (..) Now more than ever, it’s essential that all those with goodwill who are involved with the situation react with commitment, in accordance with the gravity of the situation,” Lydia Alpizar posted. Alpizar is a member of Mexico’s National Network of Women Human Rights Advocates.

According to the Meso-American Initiative, the women being held are “political activists, feminists, academic leaders, journalists, revolutionary commanders, lawyers and human rights advocates.” They were arrested “using disproportionate police tactics. Their houses were violently ransacked, some were beaten, and others were detained in front of their small children.”

The organization also stressed the risks the prisoners run for having been accused of violating the controversial “Law for the People’s Right to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace.” This catch-all law, passed last year, establishes criminal punishments for alleged “treason”.

“This law allows [the authorities] to detain people prior to an investigation. It’s unconstitutional and violates international human rights standards. It serves as a way to cover up and justify all kinds of government abuses, from fabricating charges, right through to acts of mistreatment and torture,” Alpizar underlined in the statement signed by feminists in Mexico and Central America.

Call to the international community

“We call on the international community to continue developing efforts to condemn the different manifestations of repression in Nicaragua, demand its cessation, and the liberation of all the political prisoners, as well as effective ways to guarantee human rights,” stated Morena Herrera, representative of the Salvadoran Network of Women Human Rights Advocates. 

Among the ten women that the NGOs consider political prisoners are journalist Cristiana Chamorro; former guerrilla leader and current dissident Dora Maria Tellez; opposition leaders Violeta Granera, Suyen Barahona, Ana Margarita Vijil and Tamara Davila; former first lady Maria Fernanda Flores de Aleman; and activists Maria Esperanza Sanchez and Karla Vanessa Escobar.

According to the Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners, whose data is backed by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, there are more than 150 opposition figures in Nicaragua’s jails and prisons, all for thinking differently than the government of President Daniel Ortega.

Nicaragua has been engulfed in a political and social crisis since April 2018. This has accentuated in the runup to the scheduled November 7 general elections, now widely considered bogus. Daniel Ortega plots, after jailing his potential competition, to take his fifth term, four of them consecutive. For a second time, the vice president will be his wife and current vice president Rosario Murillo.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.