OAS Demands Release of Nicaraguan Political Prisoners

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro with Gonzalo Koncke chief of staff, during a special session of the OAS Permanent Council. The session was called to follow up on the Nicaraguan situation. Photo: OAS

The organization demands an end to harassment and persecution, in order to assure free, fair, and transparent elections. They also ask that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) be allowed to return to the country.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – On March 4th, the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General condemned the situation of the political prisoners in Nicaragua. Luis Almagro, who has served as OAS Secretary General since 2015, demanded “their immediate liberation”.  Almagro also asked for an end to the harassment and persecution of opposition figures. He considered this a necessary step to assure a free, fair and transparent electoral process next November.

“The Secretary General has received confirmation of the existence of over a hundred political prisoners in Nicaragua,” the declaration stated.

“All of them have been presented as common prisoners, without fair trials, in violation of their fundamental liberties. They’re imprisoned together with common criminals; they suffer assaults and threats from other prisoners. They suffer systematic attacks to their physical integrity, mistreatment and repeated tortures from their guards,” the declaration continued.

Such actions, the OAS Secretary General noted, violate the Nicaraguan norms as well as international human rights accords.

“The Secretary General has also confirmed that the political prisoners’ family members are suffering constant threats from government agents. They also suffer harassment from prison authorities and disparaging treatment from the penitentiary functionaries.”

 Return of the IACHR demanded

Given this, Almagro indicated, the Nicaraguan government should allow the Inter-American Commission for Human Right (IACHR) to return to the country. The Commission should  be allowed to report on the current human rights situation there.

The Sandinista government led by Daniel Ortega has criticized Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General. They’ve also criticized the IACHR, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. They accuse all these organizations and officials of wanting to suffocate Nicaragua.

Family members pressure to free the political prisoners

Family members of the political prisoners pressured the Nicaraguan opposition on March 2nd. They urged them to lift their voices for the release of the Ortega regime’s prisoners of conscience. They also called on the opposition to insist that the elections scheduled for next November must be credible.

“We’re knocking on the doors of all the opposition organizations, and of all the precandidates for the presidency. They have to do more to demand the liberation of our children. We’re not asking them for anything else,” Martha Ubilla told reporters. Urbilla leads the United Group for Victims of Political Abductions. Her son, Marvin Castellon, has been in prison for nearly 20 months.

The group wants the opposition forces to “publicly commit to demanding the freedom of all the political prisoners. Their liberation should be an indispensable key point on their agenda. We want them to take us into account and unite to defeat the dictatorship. And if they win, their first action should be to apply transitional justice.”

Ubilla stated that they’d already opened contacts with all the opposition forces. They’ve communicated with the six groups that make up the National Coalition, and the two groups that comprise the Citizens’ Alliance.

“Up to now, only the Blue and White Unity movement (member of the National Coalition) has accepted our demand. The others have said they’ll meet with us. The only group that hasn’t responded is the Citizens’ Alliance,” Ubilla affirmed.

Good Will Commission also demands immediate release of prisoners

The Good Will Commission is made up of prominent Nicaraguans seeking to unite the opposition in the run-up to the elections. The group received similar requests from different groups of political prisoners’ relatives and other victims of Nicaragua’s sociopolitical crisis. These were discussed in bilateral meetings held in recent days.  

According to the Commission, the groups demand the “urgent unification of the opposition forces to demand election reforms. These reforms should meet international standards. They also demand appropriate conditions for an electoral process, especially the release of the political prisoners. Finally, they urge the opposition to participate in a unified way in any possible electoral process.”

The groups making the demands were the Organization of April Victims, the National Association for Released Political Prisoners, and the Red Lips group. Over forty representatives of Nicaraguans in exile and the NGO Hagamos Democracia [“Let’s make democracy”] also signed on to the demands.

Includes information from the EFE news agency.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

One thought on “OAS Demands Release of Nicaraguan Political Prisoners

  • Luis Almagro;
    You represent the US Government or so it appears to be, for the last 6 years at least.
    Since they are your employers, perhaps before you chastise the Nicaraguan Government, maybe you could tell me about how your employer the US Government, still gets away with doing FAR WORSE THINGS to the inmates in Gitmo?
    In fact, WHY is Gitmo still operated by the US Government, in Guantanamo, Cuba?
    Cuba doesn’t have any jails in YOUR adopted country to secretly torture prisoners with impunity!
    Don from Northern Canada

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