List of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua Continues to Grow

Seventeen more accused of alleged conspiracy and false news

You have lost a lot of weight! Just what would you expect with these conditions…

La Prensa newspaper workers and relatives of politically persecuted are accused; Mother claims: “My son was captured as a hostage”

By Octavio Enriquez (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The dictatorship charged a total of seven Nicaraguans with conspiracy and propagation of false news in the last few days, raising the number of political prisoners in Nicaragua to well over 200. Among the accused are relatives of politically persecuted people, and workers of the newspaper La Prensa. Four others were detained in different cities around the country for between thirty and sixty days, and four with arrest warrants.

The accusation includes five relatives of politically persecuted persons, who have been held hostage incommunicado for twenty days in the police cells of El Chipote in Managua. Initially, the crimes were not disclosed in the judicial system, but this Monday they were specified in a press release.

On September 13, one day before the national holidays, the authorities searched for Javier Alvarez Zamora at his home.  When they did not find him, they took his wife Jeannine Horvilleur Cuadra and their daughter, Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur – both Nicaraguan-French citizens – and did the same the next day with his son-in-law Félix Roiz Sotomayor. 

All of Alvarez’s relatives were kept in legal limbo. From exile, the politically persecuted man denounced the arbitrary detention and the repressive escalation in which “your family is the one who is going to pay if they don’t get you” which he considered “barbaric”. In the same press release, they said that they were accused of both crimes.

They also captured Gabriel Lopez del Carmen, 34, who was at the house of his mother, Andrea Margarita del Carmen Ibarra. The regime politically persecutes her, and an arrest warrant was issued against her. They were both charged with the crime of undermining national integrity.

Violation of due process

According to a criminal lawyer, consulted under the condition of anonymity, a pattern of concealment of data from the population is being repeated by not placing the information in the judicial system. This began with the trials against the priests, in the midst of the incessant attack of the regime against the Catholic Church.

“They are impairing the publicity of the processes. The Nicarao system (the system of the courts, reviewed by the lawyers to check proceedings and documents of the cases of their clients), was created so that any person could have access to the information and one of the details they must have is the type of crime for which they are being accused, it is basic”, said the jurist before the press release was published.

The trials in general against political prisoners have been characterized by the violation of the right to defense. Defense lawyers at different times denounced the lack of access to the files, and the refusal of the judiciary to allow a meeting with the accused, who are kept under torture and conditions of isolation. 

They have also denounced the lack of substance in the evidence presented by the Prosecutor’s Office, most of which is based on testimonies of police officers, namely members of an institution pointed out as responsible for the repression orchestrated by the dictator Daniel Ortega, who constitutionally is its supreme leader.

The accusations against relatives of politically persecuted people

According to the cover page of the judicial case 021717-ORM4-2022-PN, the State identifies itself as a victim of the actions of his relatives. Prosecutor Heydi Estela Ramirez Olivas indicted the relatives of Javier Alvarez and Alvarez himself last September 30 at 2:27 in the afternoon. The indictment is 11 pages long. The process is currently being processed before the Sixth Criminal District Court of Managua under the charge of Judge Rolando Salvador Sanarrusia Munguía.

Prosecutor Ramírez Olivas is known for her persecution of the independent media in the case of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, in which she threatened journalists with the application of the cybercrime law, after accusing them of publishing false news during the interrogation process.

Sanarrusia is one of the judges sanctioned in the Engel list, published by the United States in mid-July that punishes people who have undermined democratic processes or institutions. The measure prevents them from accessing a visa and therefore they cannot enter U.S. territory, according to the resolution.

Mother asks, “What can they accuse my son of?”

Gabriel Alfonso López del Carmen, 34 years old, and son of the politically persecuted Andrea Margarita del Carmen Ibarra, was also charged at 2:38 in the afternoon of the same September 30 by prosecutor Andrea del Carmen Salas Gómez, according to case 021724-ORM4-2022-PN. 

“This is the cruel response of the regime in the face of the impossibility of capturing me. I had to take refuge outside the country due to the persecution of the regime, and when I was not at home, the Police captured my son. My son lives in Matagalpa but I asked him to come to take care of my mother for a few days because she is an elderly lady and is ill. They took him as a hostage, and now he is being unjustly prosecuted. What can they accuse him of? They know perfectly well that my son has no links with political activities, and therefore they should release him,” Mrs. Andrea Del Carmen told CONFIDENCIAL.

The document has six pages. The case is being handled by Judge Sanarrusia himself. Salas is one of the prosecutors who is part of the judicial machinery with which Ortega condemned the prisoners of conscience.

Other relatives of the politically persecuted

The Prosecutor’s Office added other defendants, up to a total of 13, which includes the persecuted, their hostage relatives, and other persons not related to them. These individuals are José David Gallo Torrez, Nicolás Palacios Ortiz, and Hugo Ramón Rodríguez Flores, accused of the two crimes of conspiracy and spreading false news. Also: Adolfo Ramón García Ramírez and the former general manager of the now defunct El Nuevo Diario, Arnulfo Somarriba Aguilar, were accused of contempt.

On that September 30, Freddy Martín Porras García was also accused of conspiracy and propagation of false news at 2:23 in the afternoon, with the same dose of secrecy, by the prosecutor Yubelca del Carmen Pérez Alvarado, an outstanding persecutor of political prisoners and also sanctioned under the Engel list. The judge in charge is also Sanarrusia, according to case 021719-ORM4-2022-PN.

The indictment for this case is six pages long. Porras García was at his residence in Jinotepe, Carazo when he was arrested. The raid occurred at six o’clock in the afternoon on September 15, Independence Day. 

The accused is also the brother of Dulce Porras, leader of Unamos (former Movimiento Renovador Sandinista, MRS), who also denounced the case from exile. “I feel that the new wave of captures by the Nicaraguan regime is against relatives of those of us who are here, in exile,” she commented at the time.

The denunciations of the politically persecuted have been supported by human rights organizations such as the Colectivo Nunca Más, founded in Costa Rica, which have pointed out the illegality of the arrests.

Four La Prensa workers charged with “conspiracy”

The Attorney General’s Office of the Ortega regime indicted four workers of the confiscated newspaper La Prensa for the alleged crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity”, a charge for which most Nicaraguan political prisoners have been convicted.

According to the electronic system of the Judiciary, known as “Nicarao”, the accusation was formalized on September 29 and is filed in the Fifth Criminal District Court of Managua, in charge of Nalia Nadezhda Úbeda Obando.

She is part of the judicial machinery, made up of 15 officials who have carried out the judicial fabrications that have sent at least 205 Nicaraguans to Nicaraguan jails for political reasons.

In addition, Úbeda is in charge of a trial – without so far knowing the alleged crimes – against three priests, a deacon, two seminarians, and a cameraman who lived under police siege with Bishop Rolando José Álvarez, in the Curia of Matagalpa between August 4 and 19 last year.

The accusation was presented by the prosecutor Heydi Estela Ramírez Olivas. The judicial official is known for her work of persecution against the independent media in the case of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, in which she threatened journalists with the application of the cybercrime law, after accusing them of publishing false news during the interrogation process.

Translation by Confidencial

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times