Chavez was sentenced to ten years and a fine of more than 50,000 cordobas, while Sandino was sentenced to eleven years and six months plus a fine of 42,000 cordobas.
HAVANA TIMES – The courts of the Ortega regime continue to sentence prisoners of conscience. Economist Harry Chavez and the digital activist, Yoel Sandino, were sentenced to ten and eleven years in prison. They also must pay fines of 50,000 and 42,000 cordobas respectively, confirmed relatives of both political prisoners. They were convicted of the routine catch-all crimes of “undermining national integrity” and “propagation of false news”.
Judge Nadia Camila Tardencilla, head of the Second Criminal District Court, found Chavez guilty in a trial held last week in Managua. Previously, Tardencilla also condemned student leaders Max Jerez and Lesther Alemán and the journalist Miguel Mora in trials held at the El Chipote jail complex.
Among the evidence presented by the Prosecutor’s Office against Chávez included an alleged Facebook post, where a woman with the Nicaraguan flag was observed questioning the Government. However, his relatives denounced that the quality of the image indicated that it did not correspond to the real profile of the accused. On previous occasions, Chavez’s relatives also rejected his alleged publications about the Renacer Law, since they assure that he maintained rigorous care of his social networks.
Chavez, 64, held until 2017 the position of coordinator of the Electoral Program of the Institute for Development and Democracy (Ipade), whose legal status was canceled along with eight other organizations in December 2018. He was already retired when the facilities of the institution were taken over by the Police.
Sentence after three months of waiting
The young Yoel Sandino waited three months after the trial held behind closed doors, on November 25, 2021, to hear his sentence. The supposed evidence against Sandino were his publications made through the Mentes Libres (Free Minds) page, which the young man himself created to denounce the violations of human rights and freedom of expression that have occurred in Nicaragua since the social outbreak of 2018.
His mother, Yamilet Ibarra, defends the innocence of her son. She assures that “expressing oneself and thinking differently is not a crime”. Her family has learned of the legal situation of the 25-year-old from him, since the entire judicial process took place under total secrecy.
Chavez and Sandino were arrested during the wave of repression orchestrated by the Ortega regime on the eve of the November 2021 general elections, which allowed Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, to reelect themselves in a process without political competition. Both prisoners of conscience are imprisoned in the Jorge Navarro Penitentiary System, known as La Modelo, in Tipitapa.
Ortega’s judges have sentenced 54 prisoners of conscience -including Chavez and Sandino- of the 68 captured during 2021, mainly between the end of May and November. In all, there are over 170 political prisoners.
Yoel Chavez needs medical attention
Chavez’s relatives are concerned about his physical and mental state. They assured that he has a boil on his back that requires minor surgery but has not yet been treated. Also, he has problems with his teeth and although they have been pointing it out for about two months, he still has not been checked in prison. He also has trouble falling asleep; “He is mentally unwell,” said a relative, who for security reasons preferred to remain anonymous.