OAS Demands Release of All Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

General Secretariat makes a statement on the lack of compliance by the government

Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States.


“Total freedom and closing of all judicial causes is imperative” for all the political prisoners, states the OAS, a witness of the agreement

By Wilfredo Miranda Aburto (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – After the deadline for implementation of the agreements reached at the negotiation table between the Civic Alliance and the government of Daniel Ortega expired this June 18, the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) requested the release of all remaining political prisoners and the restoration of freedoms in Nicaragua. Both demands, made nationally and internationally, have thus far been violated by the Ortega regime.

The OAS General Secretariat, headed by Luis Almagro, stressed that in its role as witness and companion of the national dialogue it considered pertinent to appeal for compliance with both agreements. “Total freedom and closing of all judicial cases is imperative for those persons and for those who had to leave the country as a result of the events that began on April 18, 2018,” emphasized the inter-American body in its statement.

The Ortega-Murillo dictatorship released 56 political prisoners on June 11, among them the main leaders of the social protest that broke out in April 2018. The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy pointed out almost immediately that in the prisons of the regime there are still 85 political prisoners.

However, the government assured this June 18—date of the deadline for the release all political prisoners—that in their cells there were no more detainees for political reasons, and that, therefore, they would not release more people.

The Civic Alliance has proposed to the government to form a commission to review, case by case, the 85 remaining prisoners in jails. But, according to Jose Pallais, member of the opposition delegation, to date the official delegation has rejected that request.

The central argument of the Ortega government is that they have freed all prisoners from the reconciled list with the Civic Alliance under the tutelage of the Red Cross. However, the opposition affirms that of the 85 political prisoners still in prison, there still remain 29 people from that list. They note that the rest have been detained in the last months and weeks, during the continued repression and persecution.

The OAS General Secretariat reiterated in its statement that “the existence of political prisoners is incompatible with democracy and the rule of law.” The statement “requests the release of any person imprisoned for political reasons, regardless of the time of their detention or the cover of their judicial files. Without this, they note, it becomes impossible to recover the path of democracy, peace and justice in the country.

Until now, the General Secretariat of the OAS has been the only witness and companion of the dialogue that has referred to the breach of the regime regarding the release of all political prisoners and restitution of freedoms. The Vatican, through its representative in Managua, has not issued any statements.

On Tuesday June 18, the Civic Alliance delivered a letter to the witnesses and companion pointing out the breaches of the regime.

“None of the released prisoners have seen the process begun to close the administrative proceedings initiated and the criminal proceedings against them, nor have their criminal records been canceled by the competent authorities,” said the Alliance. “At this point in time, a significant number of the ex-prisoners have not had their personal documents returned, including identification cards and passports. Neither have the trials been closed, nor the criminal records cancelled, for the 296 people prosecuted and who have not been captured.”

The Civic Alliance appealed to the witnesses and companions to take into account this non-compliance, “so that the corresponding actions can be taken and the pending issues of the negotiated agenda can be addressed; rescuing the credibility of the negotiation table so that the agreements that are achieved in the same could contribute to the solution of the crisis.

Restoring freedoms urgently

The statement also urged the regime to restore freedoms in the country in a categorical manner.

“The General Secretariat expressed the urgent need to fully restore freedoms in Nicaragua, including the right to life, freedom, freedom of expression, the right of association and demonstration, among others,” the organization stated. “We reaffirm our willingness to continue working so that Nicaragua and the Nicaraguans can find the future of democracy, peace, justice, truth, no repetition and the prosperity they deserve.”