IACHR & UN Call on Nicaragua to End “Arbitrary” Detentions

Freedom for the political prisoners. File photo

From 100% Noticias / EFE

HAVANA TIMES – On September 10, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Central America and the Dominican Republic called on Nicaragua to end the “arbitrary and illegal” detentions of government opponents, after 36 leaders and activists were arrested in anticipation of the upcoming November elections. In all over 160 persons who oppose the Ortega-Murillo are currently imprisoned on fabricated charges.

In a statement issued in Washington and Panama, the international organizations condemned the “criminalization of people identified as political opponents in Nicaragua,” citing in particular the recent search and arrest warrants, and charges against author and former vice-president Sergio Ramírez.

Additionally, they denounced the “serious conditions of detention” of the political prisoners who they said are being subjected, particularly the women, to constant interrogations, isolation and exposure to artificial light 24 hours a day.

They also informed that the detainees are undernourished and have no medical care and limited water.

Among the detainees in Nicaragua are seven leaders who had expressed their intentions to run for president in the November elections against Daniel Ortega who seeks his fourth consecutive term.

Also arrested, according to this statement, are leaders of social movements, journalists, and female human rights defenders.

The agencies denounced that in most of the cases “the State would not officially confirm the whereabouts of the detainees, thus preventing them from having contact with their families and their attorneys for over 80 days.

In this context, they condemn “the unjustifiable use of criminal charges” against political opponents, who they note face accusations for serious crimes such as money laundering allegedly connected to the use of funds from international cooperation sources or conspiracy to commit the undermining of national integrity.

The statement also said that the accusations “did not conform with the guarantee of due process or the right to a fair trial,” several cases having already been presented “in secret preliminary hearings, in facilities other than courts, in the early hours of the morning,” and often without the presence of legal counsel.

The human rights organizations also called on responsible authorities to guarantee dignified treatment and access to the people in their custody, as well as compliance with due process and the right to a proper defense.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.