Ometepe, Nicaragua Political Prisoner in ICU

The 67-year-old is on a ventilator after suffering a stroke and receiving late assistance.

By Yader Luna (Confidencial)

Justo Rodriguez

HAVANA TIMES – Political prisoner Justo Emilio Rodriguez, 67, is in an ICU unit at the Lenin Fonseca Hospital.  The native of Ometepe Island suffered a stroke in jail and is in critical condition.  Human rights defenders and his relatives demand effective medical attention to save his life.

Given his delicate condition, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the authorities to “guarantee him effective medical care.”

The farmer was detained four months ago for participating in a peaceful protest against the Ortega government. Relatives said they took him to the hospital from the prison where he didn’t receive opportune medical assistance.

Human rights lawyer Yonarqui Martinez confirmed the political prisoner’s admission to the hospital. She regretted the negligent actions of the officials at the “La Modelo” prison. She accused of them of committing “the crime of omission of assistance”. Likewise, she also denounced the denying information to his family about his health condition.

They hold and threaten their family

The lawyer said that Emerita Rodríguez, the prisoner’s sister, traveled to Managua to find out about his situation. However, the hospital authorities expelled her. “They tore up her visitor’s card,” saying they had “orders from above.”

The Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH) deplored that Prison officials detained a 70-year-old woman and a nephew of Justo Emilio last weekend when they went to seek information on his state of health.

Emerita Rodríguez and Maynor Rodríguez, sister and nephew of the farmer, respectively, were “kidnapped” on Sunday inside “La Modelo”. They sought information about their relative, after learning that he was in critical condition. The fact wasj also denounced by the Nicaraguan Peasant Movement.

They released the young man eight hours later after being “subject to threats,” according to the complaint. Meanwhile the woman “had her belongings taken, including food and clothes, and held hostage.” They also prevented her from communicating with her relatives”, added the campesino organization.

When entering the offices of “La Modelo”, the largest prison in Nicaragua, located in Tipitapa, the woman and young man had been asking for Rodríguez for three days, without obtaining a response from the authorities.

The family warned about Justo’s health

The human rights defender, Yonarqui Martinez, affirmed that Rodríguez “was belatedly taken to the hospital.”

“Now (he is) in Intensive Care, intubated, victim of a stroke.”  Emerita, kidnapped from the hospital by the Police,” Martinez said on her Twitter account.

Martínez and the CPDH denounced, last week, that the 67-year-old man could die at any time in prison. He suffered a lack of medical attention and has several chronic ailments. He lost the ability to eat and walk on his own himself, according to information obtained from other prisoners.

The arrest of the peasant took place on April 20th on Ometepe Island. Then, in July, they convicted him in a flawed judicial process. His family maintains his arrest was in retaliation for participating in a second anniversary commemoration of the April Rebellion.