Nicaragua: A License to Kill

Ortega judge frees a supporter convicted of murdering opponent Jorge Rugama

Abner Pineda, who shot Jorge Rugama, in La Trinidad, Estelí, was sentenced to one year, and the same sentence orders his release

By Keyling T. Romero (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Abner Pineda, a supporter of the ruling Sandinista Front, murdered Jorge Luis Rugama, 41, on July 19 in La Trinidad, Estelí, after he shouted: “Long Live a Free Nicaragua.” The assassin will now be released scot-free on order of the judge Erick Laguna.

Laguna sentenced Pineda to a year in prison for the crime of “reckless homicide” and in the same sentence ordered the suspension of the sentence and his immediate release.

“This is a sad day for Nicaraguan justice. Once again, the Judiciary provides a ridiculous ruling,” reacted defense attorney, Evert Acevedo, of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH). “We proved that Pineda had been the author of the crime of murder. However, today when the judge dictated the sentence, he gave him one year in prison and immediately suspended the execution of the sentence and ordered Pineda’s release.”

Rugama’s murder occurred on July 19, in La Trinidad, Estelí. According to the testimonies of the victim’s relatives, that day Abner Pineda was in a caravan of Sandinista sympathizers, traveling the streets of the town in commemoration of the 41st anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution. When passing, Rugama shouted at them: Long Live a Free Nicaragua! Pineda then took out a gun and shot him in the neck.

The killer worked for the local City Hall

Pineda is a Sandinista militant and also held a position in the La Trinidad City Hall. For this reason, the defense and Jorge Rugama’s mother believe he was “favored” by the Ortega justice.

“As Jorge Luis’s mother I don’t like what they are doing. I know that this is the fault of the judge who freed him, but I have faith in God that he is the one who is going to do justice. I know that the government needs people like him [Pineda], the murderers. The good people are the ones they punish,” said Luisa Rizo Laguna.

According to the mother, during the trial, Pineda’s witnesses assured that it was the victim who provoked them. However, Rizo assures that it is false. “Everything the witnesses said is a lie. My son did not go to where Pineda was, he came to where my son was. As a mother, I am very upset.”

In the coming days, the CPDH lawyer will appeal the sentence.

[Editor’s Note: Since the civic rebellion of April 2018 the paramilitary troops of the Ortega-Murillo government have carried out hundreds of documented killings. The big difference with this murder was that the assassin didn’t even bother to cover his face as occurred during most of the other paramilitary killings.]

The funeral of Jorge Luis Rugama. Photo:

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