The Nicaraguan Justice decided this Friday to prosecute and keep in preventive detention three candidates for the presidency and other defendants for undermining sovereignty and “treason”, 66 days before the general elections, the prosecution reported.
A court of justice ordered on the second day of hearings against 34 opponents imprisoned, refer to trial the candidates for the presidency, Félix Maradiaga, Arturo Cruz and Juan Sebastián Chamorro, according to a statement from the Public Ministry (Prosecutor’s Office).
The decision to prosecute the three politicians came a day after the presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro, accused of laundering assets and property through the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (FVBCH), was sent to trial.
The government of President Daniel Ortega, in power since 2007, is seeking a fourth term and believes that the detained opponents are seeking to overthrow him with the support of the United States.
Cristiana Chamorro, the main detained opponent, will also be prosecuted. AFP photo
Cruz was arrested on June 5, while Maradiaga and Chamorro were arrested three days later, as part of a wave of arrests of government critics, social leaders, businessmen, students under charges of “undermining independence, sovereignty, self-determination and inciting foreign intervention.”
In addition to the three presidential candidates, they will also be tried seven opponents arrested, among them the business leader José Aguerri, the ex-guerrillas Hugo Torres Jiménez, Dora Téllez, Víctor Tinoco, as well as the leaders Suyen Barahona and Violeta Granera.
All of them were detained between June and July and the court admitted the accusation of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity,” the prosecution said.
The hearing was held in the Police Judicial Assistance jail, known as El Chipote, without access to the press or family, which according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), is a violation of the laws that establish that trials must be public and in the courtroom.
The trials whose starting date has not been established are announced in the middle of the electoral process that is dated November 7 and whose main container would be the current President Ortega.
The 75-year-old president was in government between 1979 and 1990, first at the head of a Governing Board and then as president. In 1990 he was defeated by former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and returned to power in 2007.
The arrest of opponents has led to increased sanctions and criticism from the international community for Ortega who refuses to release rivals, alleging that they are “criminals” and that they conspired for a coup with the support of the United States.