On the night of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the Nicaraguan Police arrested Juan Sebastián Chamorro, the fourth opposition presidential candidate arrested in recent days, and other opposition leaders, raising international reactions against the Government of Daniel Ortega.
The arrests of Nicaraguan presidential hopefuls Félix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro are in addition to the recent arrests of two other presidential hopefuls: Arturo Cruz and Cristiana Chamorro.
The authorities cited the “Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace (Law 1,055)” and accuses them of “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, requesting military interventions and organizing with financing of foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization ”.
Maradiaga was summoned to the Public Ministry on Tuesday to testify and said he did not know the crimes for which he is accused. Upon leaving, he appeared before the media and reiterated his intention to continue in the race for the presidential candidacy.
Minutes later, his vehicle was intercepted by policemen who beat him, according to his lawyer Roger Reyes. Several of their homes were raided almost simultaneously.
For his part, Juan Chamorro had a similar appointment for Wednesday at the Public Ministry for an investigation against the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), where he served as director, but on Tuesday night his home in Managua was raided by the Police and taken to the Directorate of Judicial Assistance in Managua. His wife, businesswoman Vicky Cárdenas, was notified from home to jail.
Law 1,055 was created at the end of 2020 and eliminates any aspiration to public office whom the Nicaraguan justice considers “coup leaders,” a term that the ruling party usually uses to attack opponents. “They will be traitors to the homeland, so they will not be able to run for popularly elected positions, this without prejudice to the corresponding criminal actions established in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Nicaragua, for acts of treason, crimes that compromise peace and the crimes against the Political Constitution “, indicates an article of the norm.
The Nicaraguan Code of Criminal Procedure, which invokes this controversial law, imposes penalties of between 15 and 20 years for “terrorism or terrorist financing”, as well as 10 to 15 years for “treason” and even 2 to 6 years to those who compromise peace.
Police arrest former president of Nicaragua’s main employers’ leadership
On Tuesday night, the Nicaraguan National Police also reported the arrest of economist José Adán Aguerri, former president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), the main Nicaraguan business leadership, as well as the opposition leader Violeta Granera.
Both were arrested on charges of “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs” and “requesting military interventions”. Aguerri was taken to the police cells while Granera remains “house for jail.”
The accusation, like the candidates, is for “proposing and managing economic, commercial and financial operations blockades against the country and its institutions, demanding, exalting and applauding the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and injuring the supreme interests of the Nation, “said the police institution.
The Civic Alliance denounced that Aguerri, a member of its Executive Committee, was “kidnapped” and “is illegally detained,” while Granera belongs to the Political Council of the opposition Blue and White National Unity.
Vivanco: “In the last 30 years, I have never seen anything like this”
International organizations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, IACHR, as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have accused the Ortega government of “fabricating false accusations against opponents.”
#Nicaragua 🔴 @OACNUDH is following the alarming reports of the last hours and expresses its rejection. Today 3 leaders and one opposition leader have been arbitrarily detained. There are already 6 in the last week, of which 4 were candidates for the presidency (1/2).
– OHCHR (@OACNUDH) June 9, 2021
“In the last 30 years, I’ve never seen anything like this,” José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter. “Multilateral efforts are urgently needed to arrest Ortega,” he said.
For its part, the UN stated in its official accounts that it is following the alarming reports and expressed its rejection of what happened: “Today three leaders and one opposition leader have been arbitrarily detained. There have already been six in the last week, of which four were candidates for the Presidency ”.
The Acting Undersecretary of State of the United States, Julie Chung, assured that the arrests of Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Félix Maradiaga deserve an urgent response from the international community.
The arbitrary detention of presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga – the third opposition leader detained in 10 days – confirms without a doubt that Ortega is a dictator. The international community has no choice but to treat him as such.
– Julie Chung (@WHAAsstSecty) June 8, 2021
“The increasing repression against Nicaragua’s political and civil society leaders tonight, including the arrest of Juan Sebastián Chamorro, and many others, demands an urgent international response. The Ortega regime is responsible for the welfare of the detainees. They must be released immediately, “he said on Twitter.
Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997) and who is considered the opposition figure most likely to win the presidential elections in November, was the first to be arrested last week. The second was Arturo Cruz, at the time ambassador to the United States of the Ortega government between 2007 and 2009.
The release of Juan Sebastián Chamorro and all other political prisoners in #Nicaragua and that the harassment and oppression of the dictatorship of the patricidal Daniel Ortega cease. Nicaragua deserves to be free and democratic. https://t.co/xG8b8hb7Yw
– Luis Almagro (@ Almagro_OEA2015) June 9, 2021
Ortega, 75, who is branded a “dictator” by the United States, returned to power in 2007 and has ruled since 2017 with his wife, Rosario Murillo, who is also the vice president of the Central American country.
With EFE and Reuters