Ortega Sends Intimidating Message to Nicaraguans

The threat of being charged with for cybercrimes

The Judiciary has been denounced for favoring and taking orders from the governing party.  File photo: La Prensa

By La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – For political analysts and human rights defenders, the seven and a half year sentence imposed on opposition member Donald Margarito Alvarenga Mendoza can be interpreted as a message of intimidation to the population in general, so that they avoid expressing themselves freely against Daniel Ortega’s regime. Likewise, to the rest of the political prisoners, about the future that awaits them.

The sentence is based on the alleged publications in social networks made by the Chinandega resident. Alvarenga became on Tuesday, January 18th, the first Nicaraguan to be tried and sentenced for violating Law 1042, Special Law on Cyber Crimes and Law 1055, knows as the Sovereignty Law. Many of the 170 political prisoners are charged with one or all of these laws.

After a lengthy trial, that took place in a single day on January 13th, the judge of the Criminal Court in Chinandega, Rosa Velia Baca Cardoza, accepted the testimony of seven police officers that the Public Prosecutor’s Office presented as witnesses. Based on their statements, the judge found Alvarenga guilty of allegedly engaging in a conduct of: subversion, disobedience and rebellion at the level of conspiracy to affect national integrity.”

According to the judge, Alvarenga’s publications, expressions, and posts “incited hatred and violence.” In addition, “he promoted meetings with the purpose of creating anxiety, instability, anguish and despair in the population, particularly the inhabitants of the municipality of Chichigalpa.”

Regime hardens to intimidate the population

Former deputy and political analyst Eliseo Nunez said what has happened in recent weeks with the issue of this conviction and the universities is basically that the regime is hardening its positions.

“It is a minor crime anywhere in the world. An expression on the internet, now is taken to a point of almost equating it with involuntary manslaughter. This is an outrage from a legal point of view. And they are doing it precisely to send a message to the population to shut up. So that nobody says anything on the social networks,” he explained.

Vilma Nunez, president of the shuttered Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) agrees that the sentence sends a chilling message.

“It is definitely an intimidating message and is more evidence of Ortega using the Judiciary. It will no longer be the police shooting in the streets, but the Judicial Branch throwing people in jail and violating all their rights. Now the repression is exercised through the Judiciary,” said the president of CENIDH.

It is also a message for political prisoners

For Nunez Morales, the conviction imposed on Alvarenga also sends a message to the political prisoners: to let them know that this is the path they are following. “They are in a position of hardening themselves and the prisoners are their hostages. And they are going to do to them as much harm as they think that will force the United States and Europe to negotiate with them. And their demand is leave me alone, let me rule and don’t bother me with anything about elections or the like. In exchange for that I will just hand over the prisoners,” the political analyst pointed out.

He added that the closing of private universities through the cancellation of their legal status, accompanies this “because they are in a scorched earth position.”

“No one who opposes them has a right to live in Nicaragua. Either they go to live abroad or they throw them in jail. That is the message they are sending,” said Nunez Morales.

And speaking of what Daniel Ortega recently said about the existence of political prisoners in the United States, Nunez says that of the 700 people prosecuted for violently entering Congress, less than thirty have been convicted. The highest sentence is four years. In addition, all have had their rights and guarantees respected; and most are paying their sentences in freedom, because they are less than six months in prison.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.