Nicaraguan Supreme Court Magistrate Jailed

This is how Ileana Perez fell in disgrace

Magistrate Ileana Perez. Photo taken from the Judicial Branch.

Perez would be the second person in this state power to fall in less than a week. Other magistrates “are afraid, quarreling and do not know who else may fall,” said an inside source.

By La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – There was a time when Supreme Court of Justice magistrate, Ileana Perez, wielded absolute power. She would arrive in Rivas -a strategic zone considered a gold mine due to its property disputes-, cloaked in the power granted to her by Nestor Moncada Lau, the fearsome assistant of dictator Daniel Ortega. She would make judges, public registrars, public prosecutors tremble, and anyone who stood in her way.

However, today nothing is left of that power. The magistrate now only receives her check every month. She signs nothing, proposes nothing. And the final blow was given to her this Tuesday, October 18, when she was taken to the infamous El Chipote prison.

The transfer of Perez to El Chipote and the arrest over the weekend of another loyal servant to the regime, Supreme Court spokesperson Roberto Larios, has the Sandinista magistrates nervous. On Wednesday morning several of them were meeting in the office of magistrate Gerardo Arce.

“They are afraid, they are quarreling, and do not know who else may fall,” a Supreme Court source told La Prensa.

The Supreme Court magistrates at the service of the dictatorship distribute among themselves the country’s zones. Since her arrival to the judiciary, after a lightning career as judge at the service of Sandinista interests, Perez was assigned the area of Rivas. With its paradisaic beaches, property disputes derived from the “pinata” (grabbing of property and assets by Sandinistas in 1990) and thousands of hectares without verified owners, the area is considered a gold mine.

The presidential family and the FSLN also have interests in this department through cooperatives, tourist investment and farms.

After years of wielding unlimited power, disgrace came for magistrate Perez. A house seized in a trial against a drug trafficker was registered in the name of one of her brothers, according to sources of the judiciary. Going rogue cost her dearly. She was taken to El Chipote and interrogated.

Not even being related to Moncada Lau could keep her in power. “She is president of the Civil Chamber of the Court, but she has no function. The Rivas area is no longer supervised by her, and practically she only receives her monthly checks,” said the source.

The judicial source said there was talk that magistrate Perez would be sent to the Comptroller’s Office in November. “That she would not be totally removed, but they will lower her rank. It is not the same to be a magistrate with a good salary, benefits, and retirement plan, which is also the dream of every lawyer to retire as a magistrate, than to be a comptroller,” said the source.

The public registrar of Rivas, Jeiner Herrera, was removed from his position, as was the mayor of that city, Wil Lopez, for their business dealings with the magistrate.

“They, the weakest link of the chain, could not be saved. She was saved by President Ortega, if it were up to Rosario Murillo she would have already been in prison. It seems that now they have listened to the companera,” said the source.

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