Nicaragua Boycotts Hearing Convened by the Inter-American HR Court

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The international court held the public hearing to supervise the provisional measures granted to five opponents of the Ortega government.

By La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) began a public hearing Friday on supervision of provisional measures that the court adopted in favor of five government opponents arrested in Nicaragua: Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Felix Maradiaga, Violeta Granera, Tamara Davila, and Jose Adan Aguerri.

The international court convoked the State of Nicaragua; however, it did not attend. Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito, president of the I/A Court H.R., confirmed said absence. “Usually, it is the State that begins with its address (…), at present before the non-compliance of the State at the public hearing, which we very much regret (…), we deplore the absence of the State of Nicaragua, because the seriousness of the situation would have made it possible for us to hear them,” she pointed out.

For this reason, the judge gave the floor to the lawyer and president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), Vilma Nuñez, in legal representation of Tamara Davila. In addition to Nuñez, participated the relatives of the arrested opponents: Julio Sandino, son of Granera; Victoria Cardenas, wife of Chamorro; Bertha Valle, Maradiaga’s wife, Carolina Jackson, Aguerri’s daughter; Javier Hidalgo, Davila’s brother, and other representatives of petitioning human rights organizations.

“The absence of the State in this hearing reaffirms the non-compliance with these measures and its obligation to inform the Court of the whereabouts and situation of the beneficiaries, as well as to provide evidence to support their dire claims. The State ignored and disqualified this honorable Court,” Nunez said.

The international court adopted provisional measures, for which it requested the State of Nicaragua to proceed with the “immediate release” of the beneficiaries, within a period established by the international court, considering that the detainees are in an extremely serious, pressing and imminent danger of irreparable damage to their rights.”

On June 24, the I/A Court H.R. granted the measures in favor of Chamorro, Maradiaga, Granera and Aguerri, and gave the Government of Nicaragua until July 8 to comply with the measures in favor of the beneficiaries. Then, on July 19, the international court adopted precautionary measures in favor of Davila and her family nucleus. For Davila, the I/A Court requested her immediate release and gave the Nicaraguan State until July 30 to comply with the resolution.

Participants in the public hearing of the Inter-American Court. LA PRENSA / SCREENSHOT.

Despite this, the five opponents were officially accused, this Thursday, August 26, by the Public Ministry, controlled by the Ortega regime, for the crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity.” “In a clear challenge to the resolution of this Court, given the imminence of this hearing, they accused the beneficiaries of these measures of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and decreed pre-trial detention,” Nunez pointed out.

The Inter-American Court is one of the three regional courts for the protection of human rights, together with the European Court of Human Rights and the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights. It is an autonomous judicial institution whose objective is to apply and interpret the American Convention.

The testimonies of the relatives of the beneficiaries

The relatives gave their testimonies before the judges of the Inter-American Court. Most of them narrated the way in which their relatives were kidnapped and the current situation that they are going through. The beneficiaries agreed to demand from the State of Nicaragua to prove that their detainees are alive.

“My husband Felix was kidnapped by the Police on June 8, 2021, after leaving an interview with the Prosecutor’s Office, since then we know absolutely nothing. We request proof that he is alive because he has been missing and incommunicado for 80 days,” said Valle, Maradiaga’s wife, who had to leave the county in June 2018 with her 8-year-old daughter and her mother-in-law, a cancer survivor.

Later, Jackson, Aguerri’s daughter, assured that her father is “another missing person for political reasons and victim of repression (…) it has been like living a mourning even though he is not dead. The night that the regime arbitrarily detained him was the last time we heard from him. These 80 days have been very hard for the family, they have been long and full of fear and pain. Today I am here with the hope that Your Honors will continue to demand his immediate freedom. We demand that they be shown to us.”

The presidential candidates Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Félix Maradiaga and the opponents Jose Adan Aguerri and Violeta Granera. LA PRENSA/ ARCHIVE.

Soon after, Hidalgo, Davila’s brother, stated that “it has been 76 days since the last time we saw her. For my niece, it has been 76 grueling days and nights. Her daughter has even come to ask if she is dead. We don’t know anything about her, we don’t know where Tamara is.”

Continuing with the testimonies, Sandino, Violeta’s son, referred to his mother’s situation “with the deep sorrow of not being able to bring even water to the “El Chipote” prison, where in theory my mother is (…). Regrettably, today my mother reached 80 days deprived of her freedom and 77 days missing. We as a family and lawyers know absolutely nothing about her, who was diagnosed with heart problems this year. We say loudly and firmly that we want to see our mother and we demand my mother’s freedom.

Finally, Cardenas, Chamorro’s wife, shared that her life changed after her husband’s arrest. “We haven’t had any contact with him for 80 days. After Juan’s disappearance, I couldn’t stay at home. I want to emphasize that we know absolutely nothing about him. I demand proof that Juan Sebastian Chamorro and the other missing are alive.”

Judge Ricardo Perez Manrique asked the families of the detainees two questions, one of them was, what do you demand from the Inter-American Court about the proof that they are alive requested from the State? And, who of the relatives are in Nicaragua?

IACHR participates in the hearing

The President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Antonia Urrejola, participated in the public hearing. It was the IACHR the one who asked the international court for urgent provisional measures in favor of the five detained Ortega government opponents.

“Despite the seriousness (of the condition) of the beneficiaries, the State has not presented any information (…), on the contrary, the State is not here. The escalation of violence that the civil community has denounced has consisted of the criminalization of the political opposition,” Urrejola said.

She added that after more than two months in detention, people continue to be in “risky conditions.” Urrejola asked the Inter-American Court to make a pronouncement.

Nicaraguans in Costa Rica protest in front of the I/A Court H.R.

Concurrently, while the I/A Court H.R. was holding the public hearing virtually, in Costa Rica, Nicaraguans based in that country are carrying out a protest in front of the headquarters of the international court, in which they demand the release of all political prisoners and the departure of the Ortega-Murillo regime.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.