The exonerated Ortega sympathizer killed Jorge Rugama, in La Trinidad, Estelí, because he shouted: “Long live a free Nicaragua!”
By Juan Carlos Bow (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – An Appeals Court ratified the release of the Ortega militant Abner Pineda Castellon, who murdered opposition sympathizer Jorge Luis Rugama, in La Trinidad, Estelí. [The decision exemplifies the total impunity that reigns in Nicaragua for the regime’s supporters.]
However, the court decision was not unanimous, since surprisingly one magistrate, Roberto Jose Petray, expressed his dissent.
On November 19, Judge Erick Laguna found Pineda guilty of “reckless homicide” and sentenced him to one year in prison, although in the same ruling he ordered the sentence suspended and his “immediate” release.
Roberto Petray, the dissenting appeal’s court magistrate, said Pineda deserved a sentence of eleven years in prison: ten years for the crime of “homicide”; and one year for “illegal possession and use of weapons.” As well as “revoking the suspension of sentence and ordering his capture.”
Despite the judge’s arguments, Judge Laguna’s mild sentence was upheld by Justices Hilda Rugama Zelaya and Jose Dolores Ubau Flores.
In his sentence, Judge Laguna argued that Pineda suffered alleged “psychological trauma” caused by a “failed coup attempt” in April 2018. That’s how the Ortega regime describes the massive citizen protests of that year. In addition, because supposedly Pineda was besieged on many occasions for his FSLN sympathy.
Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney, Eber Acevedo, of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), said the sentence “is one of the most aberrant in the procedural history of Nicaragua.”
In an interview with CONFIDENCIAL and Esta Semana, Luisa Rizo Laguna, mother of the murder victim, said: “For me (the court ruling) is a mockery, because if the Government says there are laws, then let them be seen. The laws only apply on their opposition, for others, and for his supporters, the law is blind. The law should be the same for everyone.”
Rugama was shot dead in front of several witnesses on July 19, 2020, after shouting “Long live a free Nicaragua!” to a car caravan of Ortega sympathizers, including Pineda, touring the streets of La Trinidad, Estelí, in celebration of the 41st anniversary of the Sandinista Popular Revolution.