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Amaya Coppens: “Even When Out of Prison We Are Not Free or Safe”

The student leader and her family suffer the harassment and constant aggressions from Ortega’s paramilitaries after her release from jail

This is how the house of the student leader, Amaya Coppens, looks after burnt oil was thrown against it last Wednesday. Courtesy / Confidential

Redacción Confidencial

4 de enero 2020


Student leader Amaya Coppens and her family have suffered four consecutive days of besiegement, since the university leader was released from prison for the second time, on December 30, 2019.

According to her grievance, the day after she returned paramilitaries threw burnt oil on the front of her home, located in Esteli. Likewise, Ortega’s sympathizers were patrolling her street.

“Every night they have attacked the house one way or another, throwing stones, shots in the air, mortar shells in the air, and the last thing was on Wednesday when they threw burnt oil against the entire exterior wall, and yesterday, they were also patrolling as a way to intimidate,” she said.

These direct aggressions have occurred late at night or during the early morning, to cause her and her family physical and mental fatigue because of the fear that the attacks will transcend and threaten their lives, as happened a few weeks ago when two of her brothers were beaten by an Ortega mob in Chinandega.

“This is a constant threat that on more than one occasion has passed into action. We already know that it is to tell us that although we are outside of prision, we are not really free or safe,” says Coppens, who also has precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Since the beginning of the protests against the Ortega Murillo regime, in April of 2018, medical student Amaya Coppens became one of the most representative university leaders. Because of that, she was arrested for the first time on August 25 of that year; ten months later she was released. On November 15, 2019, she was arrested a second time, after bringing water to the mothers of political prisoners who went on hunger strike in the “San Miguel Arcangel” church in Masaya.

Pending trial

“The release was simply that, because the case has not even been closed. Our trial is still pending for January 30. They simply changed the conditions; we are now under the family coexistence (house arrest) system. This is also part of that threat, of telling us that at any moment they will change the probation measures again,” she says.

Although 91 people were released on Monday, the regime keeps more than 65 political prisoners in its jails. Among them, Marvin Vargas, who is under arrest and in confinement since before April 2018, points out Coppens, who is also part of the Social Movements Coordination.


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After denouncing all these actions against Amaya and her family, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) presented to the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Paolo Abrao, a report that updates the risk situation faced by the Coppens family.

“Political parties must join the big coalition”

Coppens told 100% Noticias that there must be a big opposition coalition through the unity of the different individuals and organizations in the struggle.

“The most important thing is the unity of all Nicaraguans and to leave aside personal interests in order to really work for what are our objectives, which are clear and have been clear. We’re waiting for others to join within the established conditions of ensuring the common welfare of all,” she said.

Amaya feels that in that coalition a representation of the existing political parties should exist, they must abide by certain conditions.

“We have seen political events in history that cause much distrust; however, the politicians are actors that must be considered, but clearly with conditions. This is not a situation to give carte blanche to anyone to solve the crisis. There are public figures who have shown us on several occasions that the common good is not their priority. Yes, they must be integrated, but with very clear conditions,” Coppens says.

Fire set at the house of an exiled journalist

Besiegement and violent actions have also been suffered by exiled journalists. Last Tuesday, journalist Winston Potosme reported several damages to his family home, located in Niquinohomo, after some hooded individuals threw stones and set a pick-up truck on fire.

According to him the fire occurred two hours before midnight on December 31, when a person set on fire the pick-up truck parked in the garage and it was completely burned.

At the time of the fire, the house was alone, noted Potosme, who has been exiled for a year in the United States after being wounded by a bullet in one of the lasts anti-government marches of 2018. The purpose was that, by burning the vehicle, to also burn a small family workshop to repair home appliances, located next to the driveway and where there were tanks of oxygen and butane gas. However, the flames were contained before spreading.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.