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District Three, Nicaragua's New Torture Site for Political Prisoners

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights denounces: forced disappearance, daily interrogations, unsanitary cells, 24-hour illumination and lack of sun

District Three of National Policia of Nicaragua

Redacción Confidencial

1 de octubre 2023

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The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has detailed some aspects of the physical and psychological torture suffered by the political prisoners held at the District Three Police Station in Managua. The jail here is employing the same methods as in other notorious jails of the Ortega-Murillo regime.

In their resolution from September 25: “Extension of Provisional Measures in the Matter of Juan Sebastián Chamorro et al. regarding Nicaragua”, the Court alleged that in this detention center the political prisoners are held in “unsanitary” conditions “characterized by excessive crowding.”


“Large groups of political prisoners are kept in very small cells.  They’re forced to relieve themselves right there, and do not have bathroom fixtures or basic materials for cleaning,” described the Inter-American Court.

It further pointed out that the cells have “lights that remain on 24 hours a day, which impacts sleep and creates a suffocating environment, exacerbated by the number of people inside the same cell.”

Political prisoners are also not allowed access to sunlight or fresh air, and “fumigation was carried out while the detainees remained in their cells, without the necessary precautions,” the Court stressed.

Furthermore, the water available is not potable and the food provided is of poor quality.

Among the political prisoners who have passed through District Three are: Jasson Salazar, vice president of the April 19 University Movement; Olesia Muñoz, music teacher and a singer in her church choir in Niquinohomo; Víctor Ticay, a correspondent for Channel 10 in Nandaime.  All were found guilty of the alleged crimes of “undermining the national integrity” and “propagation of false news.” The men were subsequently transferred to La Modelo prison, and the women to La Esperanza prison, both located in Tipitapa.

Daily interrogations

Regarding the specific case of Salazar, who was granted provisional protective measures, ignored by the dictatorship, the Inter-American Court indicated that he was subjected to 64 interrogations during his 64-day stay at the District Three police station in Managua.

Salazar was also not allowed visits from family or lawyers, and his family members were not informed of his place of detention, which makes his status one of forced disappearance.

The Court was also informed that Salazar presented symptoms of low blood pressure, but that the authorities of the police delegation “showed no interest” in the inmate’s health. No physical examination was performed and his access to medical services and medications was reportedly limited.

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In addition, the student leader’s family regularly brought him bottled water and food, but these items were not delivered to him.

Methods similar to those of El Chipote

The cruel methods described by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights aren’t new in Nicaragua. The practices were previously denounced in the old jail known as El Chipote – near the Tiscapa lagoon in Managua – and replicated in the new “Evaristo Vasquez” Police complex, known as the “new Chipote,” as well as in the La Modelo jail complex in Tipitapa. However, it’s the first time that an international human rights organization has named the District Three station as yet another center where prisoners are severely mistreated.

Towards the end of 2021, the regime began holding its political prisoners in District Three instead of the Nuevo Chipote, a site that has been denounced as a center of torture.

Last June, around thirty political prisoners (men and women), who had been imprisoned for two months in District Three, were transferred to the National Penitentiary System. “The transfer of the political prisoners was carried out under total secrecy. The Police did not notify the relatives of the political prisoners, who had to go around to the respective prisons to verify if they had been admitted,” CONFIDENCIAL reported at that time.

The United Nations Group of Human Rights Experts (GHREN) denounced in March 2023 the commission of “crimes against humanity” in Nicaragua, comparing these crimes with those committed by the Nazis in the Second World War.

The GHREN report mentions the ill-treatment to which prisoners of conscience were subjected, including unsanitary conditions, excess humidity, and lack of ventilation; They were all officially approved practices aimed at “punishing and breaking people.”

In recent years, the deprivation of sleep, the anguish caused to family members due to lack of information, and the prohibition of reading and writing in El Chipote have all been denounced by human rights organizations and the independent press as arbitrary practices that violated the United Nations minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners known as the “Nelson Mandela rules.”

Former head of El Chipote now at District Three

Last June, sources linked to the police confirmed to Confidencial that Police Commissioner Luis Alberto Perez Olivas, former director of the new El Chipote, had been removed from his post and assigned the job of District Three police chief. But it wasn’t until the beginning of September that the regime confirmed the change in a press statement.

Luis Perez Olivas was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in March 2020, due to denunciations of grave human rights abuses in El Chipote. The report stressed cases of “torture, sexual abuse, use of electric shock, lacerations from barbed wire, asphyxiation and beatings with steel pipes.” Perez Olivas has also received similar sanctions from the European Union, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.

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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.

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