HAVANA TIMES – Relatives of the over 140 Nicaraguan political prisoners denounced the terrible prison conditions their family members are being held in, especially the lack of hygiene and medical attention, and torture. Twenty-four of the twenty-seven prominent opposition figures imprisoned recently have also been denied all visits from either relatives or lawyers. The prisoners’ family members demanded the immediate liberation of all the Ortega regime’s political prisoners.
In a press conference, organizations made up of relatives of the political prisoners sent two messages.
First, they denounced the highly vulnerable conditions in which the prisoners are being held. “Today we ask you [the press] to echo our denunciations of injustice, impotence, human rights abuses and the suffering that we’re all experiencing,” they stated.
According to the organizations, 35% of the current political prisoners were arrested between 2018 and 2019. Some have been in prison for nearly three years. “The average prison time for those taken in after 2018 is 405 days. Many have been tried twice for the same crime.”
The relatives explained that some families have more than one member in prison, but the system assigns them different visitation dates. As a result, “they must absent themselves from home and work for several days, with economic, physical and emotional consequences.”
In addition, Penitentiary System officials force relatives to sign documents affirming that their relatives are receiving good treatment. If they refuse, they’re denied the right to visit. “We know this isn’t true, and it’s one more tactic of the dictatorship to repress, exhaust, and blackmail us.”
The organizations noted that there’s no medical attention in the prisons and the sanitary conditions are atrocious. “Those in prison suffer from all kinds of chronic and acquired diseases, plus others caused by their situation as captives. We know of prisoners who presented symptoms, but haven’t received opportune medical help, nor are they allowed access to the medicines their family members bring in.”
The latest arrests
In the cast of the 27 opposition leaders recently jailed, the vast majority have been denied all visits and contact with family members or lawyers, causing great anguish. “Many of them have now been held incommunicado for over 40 days. This is a form of torture, not only for those who are illegally detained, but also for those of us close to them. The anguish of not knowing what conditions they’re in, and not knowing how to respond to this heart-rending separation forced upon us, is overwhelming. In many cases, they have small children who keep asking where they are, and when they’ll be able to see them,” the relatives indicated.
Second message aimed at Kitty Monterrey
The second message the organizations wanted to send was that they remain united in their demands for freedom. “Our differences, far from making us weaker, strengthen us. We hope to continue confronting and resisting this dictatorship in this way, until we achieve liberty for all the political prisoners – and democracy and justice without impunity in Nicaragua.”
Rodrigo Navarrete, whose nephew Jaime Navarette is in prison, issued a special call to Kitty Monterrey, president of the Citizens for Liberty party, to put herself in the prisoners’ shoes.
Mrs. Monterrey, where are your human feelings? Aren’t you concerned about the physical integrity of those who’ve been imprisoned? Is a [parliamentary] seat more important to you than the freedom of the political prisoners? You keep insisting that this ignominious electoral farce is the road. What road? Maybe it’s your road to well-being, but let me tell you, Ma’am – go it alone, and stop speaking in the name of a people who don’t support your complicity, that has killed the dream of Nicaraguans who are shouting for freedom,” Navarrete concluded.