Two More Nicaraguan Students Face Long Years in Prison
Mildred Rayo and Miguel Flores, members of AUN, found guilty of catch-all charges
Ortega’s Prosecutor’s Office requests eight years in prison each; AUN denounces: “even their relatives were not allowed to enter the mock trial.”
HAVANA TIMES – An Ortega court found Mildred Rayo and Miguel Flores, members of the Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN), guilty of the catch-all crimes of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news, reported the student organization on January 26th.
The young dissidents, who were detained by the military on November 1, 2022, near the border with Costa Rica, were prosecuted in a closed-door “trial” held on Wednesday, January 25, at the Managua Judicial Complex, according to AUN.
“Judge Felix Ernesto Salmeron Moreno, an operator of the Sandinista regime, handed down a sentence in a montage where, from the court uses laws designed to criminalize honest and innocent young people,” denounced the youth opposition group in a statement.
The prosecution requests eight years in prison
The organization also denounced that, during the trial against the youths, “their relatives were not allowed to enter the hearing,” they described the trial as an “arbitrary setup against their freedom.” The Prosecutor’s Office requested eight years in prison for each of them.
AUN maintained that the accused youths belong to a group of more than 200 Nicaraguans considered political prisoners by humanitarian organizations, who are imprisoned after having participated in anti-government protests or criticized the Ortega-Murillo regime.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) denounced that Flores “was in the worst defenselessness because they did not allow him a private lawyer.” They indicated that the entire trial “was conducted in an environment of illegalities.”
Cenidh condemned the lack of guarantees of due process and the violation of human rights by the Judiciary, describing the hearing as a “judicial farce.” At the same time, they demanded the freedom of the youth and all the prisoners of conscience.
Four members of AUN convicted
Rayo and Flores join Lesther Aleman and Max Jerez, both AUN leaders arrested in 2021, as part of a wave of captures by the Government against various leaders in the moths before the national elections, in which Daniel Ortega assigned himself a new term in office with his main competitors in prison.
Aleman and Jerez were also convicted of the same crimes for which Rayo and Flores were tried. Both student leaders remain in the infamous El Chipote jail, isolated, without the right to regular visits and without access to specialized medical care.
According to data endorsed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), there are at least 255 political prisoners in Nicaragua, including opposition leaders, students, peasants, businessmen, human rights defenders, feminists, journalists, religious leaders, and others.
The abduction of Ortega’s critics began after April 2018, when a popular protest broke out over controversial social security reforms that later turned into a demand for the president’s resignation because he responded with deadly force.
These non-violent anti-government demonstrations were squashed with armed attacks that, according to the IACHR, left at least 355 dead, of which Ortega, who has said that it was an attempted coup, has admitted 300 victims.
The 2018 crisis worsened in the following years with fraudulent national and municipal elections with the opposition excluded. Both Ortega’s opponents at home and in exile and a large part of the international community gave the charades no legitimacy.
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