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Increasing Harassment to Former Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

The human rights organization CENIDH affirms that there is “a strategy of harassment and terror” by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo

The human rights organization CENIDH confirms an increasing of “a strategy of harassment and terror” by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo

Yader Luna

27 de enero 2020


The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) presented a new bimonthly report on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, which includes the multiple violations committed by Daniel Ortega’s regime during November and December of 2019. It includes the profanation of graves of those killed during the protests, the constant besiegement of former prisoners, the criminalization of solidarity, attacks on churches, resurgence of harassment and persecution, as well as attacks against press freedom.

In Nicaragua, a systematic violation of individual and public freedoms persists, particularly of those who participated in the protests. “There was a relentless persecution of former political prisoners and any Nicaraguan who sought to exercise his constitutional right to civic protest,” warns the human rights organization.

“Under the cover of impunity, groups of paramilitary and shock forces with the acquiescence of the National Police, painted threatening phrases and caused damage to homes of former political prisoners,” says the report.

One of the most relevant events mentioned in the Cenidh report was the terrible humiliation experienced by the Reyes Alonso family, from Leon, when they were forced to record a video in which they promise not to “continue to mess with the Police or FSLN supporters.”

“The Police executed constant violations through harassment and break-ins, such is the case of the Reyes Alonso family, who besides having their property invaded, were humiliated when recorded and forced to repeat slogans of the ruling party,” noted CENIDH.

Persecution on the rise

Special Operations Police attack citizens and a journalist in a protest. Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

Cenidh also notes in its report that “a pattern of death by hanging within police stations causes particular concern.” They also express that “the news that mothers of political prisoners, who began a hunger strike on November 14, demanding freedom for their children, caused alarm. They were in the San Miguel Archangel church in Masaya, without water or light and surrounded by armed police, who prevented the population from approaching to provide them with humanitarian assistance.”

“In that same context, the world witnessed how the Government of Daniel Ortega criminalized solidarity by arbitrarily arresting and prosecuting 16 young people, from the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), for bringing water bottles to the strikers in Masaya,” it points out.

The San Miguel Church in Masaya surrounded by police. File photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

“Strategy of harassment and terror”

After analyzing the violent and repressive acts of the Police during November and December of last year, CENIDH warns in its report of a new repressive phase of the dictatorship with the flare-up and persecution against opposition citizens and former political prisoners, with a marked tendency of the regime to violate the constitutional right to free mobilization.

The human rights organization shows that in the last two months of 2019 there were 92 arrests. Of these, only 18 people were released on the same day.

Juana Francisca Reyes Urbina beaten by police and Ortega’s mobs on the morning of December 12, in Metrocentro. Photo: Carlos Herrera

In addition, they indicate that 65 political prisoners still remain in the jails of Nicaragua where they receive constant mistreatment by the police authorities.

The organization notes that there is “a strategy of harassment and terror by the regime, to detriment of the newly released prisoners.”

“We arrived in 2020 with a government that wants to perpetuate itself in power through repression and maintaining a situation of uncertainty and interference in the normal development of daily life of Nicaraguans,” warns Cenidh.


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Yader Luna

Yader Luna

Periodista nicaragüense, con dos décadas de trayectoria en medios escritos y digitales. Fue editor de las publicaciones Metro, La Brújula y Revista Niú. Ganador del Grand Prize Lorenzo Natali en Derechos Humanos.