Nicaragua: Prisoners Protest at the El Chipote Jail

The prison known as El Chipote, is where the regime holds dozens of its political prisoners.  Photo/Confidencial

Shouts and slogans in the cells, they sing the national anthem, and demand freedom and the end of the torture and isolation.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Sources linked to the El Chipote prison complex of the National Police confirmed to Confidencial on Monday, March 28, that political prisoners held a protest from their cells.

In the morning hours “there were shouts, slogans and the prisoners sang the national anthem in several wards,” the source said.

The protest took place when most of the political prisoners have already been given sentences ranging from eight to 13 years in prison. However, the judges have not determined how and where they will serve their sentences, and they are kept under a regime of isolation in a prison which is supposedly for “investigations.”

The sources reported that in the protest participated women and men, prisoners of conscience in separate wards. The prisoners demanded “that they be released and shouted the name of retired general Hugo Torres,” who died in a hospital as a political prisoner under police custody.

Among the condemned political prisoners are several elderly people suffering from chronic illnesses, such as Pedro Joaquín Chamorro (70), Violeta Granera (70), Victor Hugo Tinoco (69), Nidia Barbosa (66), Dora María Tellez (66), Harry Chavez (64), Evelyn Pinto (63), Irving Larios (63) and Jose Adan Aguerri (60). Their families are demanding the application of the law that allows them to be transferred to house arrest.

Other prisoners are demanding that they be transferred to the La Modelo and La Esperanza prisons, and for the regime of isolation and torture to which they are subjected in El Chipote to cease.

El Chipote prison sources did not reveal how the police authorities of El Chipote reacted to the protest of the prisoners, whose relatives have denounced cruel treatment, but they were subjected to a punishment regime in retaliation for the shouts and slogans. “I can only tell you that there were several protests at different times in the morning, but I do not know what happened afterwards,” said the source.

In El Chipote prison, political prisoners Tamara Davila, Dora María Téllez, Ana Margarita Vijil and Suyen Barahona, have been kept in solitary confinement cells during more than nine months, while the prisoners who share cells with other comrades, are forced to remain silent, and none have access to books, notebooks, pencils or reading materials.

Inhumane treatment denounced

Human rights organizations have denounced the inhumane conditions in which political prisoners are held, in violation of the so-called “Mandela Rules”, or United Nations Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

This is the first time that these political prisoners —abducted in the context of the 2021 elections— protest in prison, since the isolation and precarious conditions in which they are held have caused them serious physical and emotional deterioration, as revealed by their relatives after the limited times they have been allowed to visit them.

Human rights defenders have denounced that the government does not comply with the law, since the Law of the Penitentiary system and Execution of Sentences, establishes the frequency of family and marital visits for inmates under the different regimes will be every 21, 14 and eight days.

During the last visit to the political prisoners, which took place between March 17 and 20, their relatives denounced that there was a possible outbreak of coronavirus in the prison. Likewise, they noted that the inmates are suffering vision problems and skin fungus and continue to face different forms of torture.  

The political prisoners are also not allowed reading materials, photographs, or sheets and blankets, so they must withstand cold at night and a lot of heat during the day.

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