Yonarqui Martinez, defense attorney for the political prisoners, has been accused of stealing from an official who works for the Judicial Power in the Sixth District Penal Court for Hearings in Managua. However, she denounces the charge as “fabricated” in order to try and force her to abandon the defense of some of the dictatorship’s accused political prisoners.
“They called me on the phone on Friday, February 10, the day I denounced the beating that they’d given to prisoner Irlanda Jerez; afterwards, when the information flooded the social networks, I received another call in which I was told that a person in the Judicial Branch had ordered me to be deprived of my liberty because I was pissing them off,” she stated to Confidencial.
Today, February 27, Yonarqui Martinez arrived at Managua’s Judicial Complex in the morning, hand in hand with her children. She assured that she would confront this legal process with courage, and ruled out the idea of leaving the country. The judge in charge of the process is the Ortega-ally Henry Morales, who’s presided over a number of cases of political prisoners.
By now, I’ve defended with a great deal of courage a countless number of those deprived of liberty. Whenever I enter the chamber, I give them strength, and I’m not going to run off because now I too am going to be charged with something that I didn’t do, merely because maybe my determination and my work makes them very uncomfortable,” she declared
They’re accusing me of theft. However, they could just as well accuse me of being a terrorist, of organized crimes and of obstructing public services,” she lamented. [These are the typical charges the government has brought against the political prisoners in order to assign them draconian jail terms].
Since April of last year, Martinez has taken on the job of defending those who’ve been arrested for having participated in the anti-government demonstrations. Among the cases she’s been in charge of are: Yubrank Suazo, Dilon Ramos, and the case of the student leaders Byron Estrada and Nahiroby Olivas, accused of torching the University Center in Leon where a fire broke out during the height of the April protests.
Due to her work, Martinez has suffered intimidation and direct attacks against her. This past December, she received a call saying: “your death will be like that of ex-policewoman Maria Teofila Arauz’ son.” The latter was fired from the National Police for sharing the song Que vivan los estudiantes [“Long live the students”] on her Whatsapp profile. Weeks later, when she was in the midst of denouncing her expulsion, her son died in a traffic accident. Indeed, days after Yonarqui Martinez received that threatening call, a vehicle pursued her and tried to force her car into a drainage ditch.
A month after this, in January of 2019, she and her assistant were intercepted by several armed men while heading home. The men stole their things and placed a gun to her head. The lawyer notes that these attacks against her occurred just days before the trial of some of the student leaders was to begin. For that reason, she believes that they’re part of the reprisals and threats that the lawyers for the political prisoners are suffering. However, she reiterates that she won’t abandon the cause.
“I’ve spoken with my family and with God, and I’m going to face up to them with my head raised high. I’m not leaving. By now, I’ve defended with a great deal of courage a countless number of those deprived of liberty. Whenever I enter the chamber, I give them strength, and I’m not going to run off because now I too am going to be charged with something that I didn’t do, merely because maybe my determination and my work makes them very uncomfortable,” she declared
According to her statement upon exiting the Judicial Complex, her hearing has been rescheduled for March 26.