More than 40 political prisoners maintain "actions of rebellion" in La Modelo

Family members explain that their relatives are pressuring for their freedom, but have begun to receive threats from prison officials

Yaritzha Mairena urges opposition forces to “unify a strategy” to free the remaining political prisoners and work towards “access to justice.”

18 de junio 2021


A group of more than 40 political prisoners have been carrying out rebellious actions to demand their freedom since May 31. The prisoners of Daniel Ortega's regime have decided to stop signing documents issued by the authorities, not to attend medical consultations, to refuse the "chupeta" (food provided by the prison) and not to allow officials to take photographs of them.

Brenda Gutiérrez, representative of the Committee for the Liberation of Political Prisoners, which unites the relatives of 65 of the more than 130 prisoners of the Ortega regime, explained that they have reports of more than 40 political prisoners who have joined the rebellious actions during these 11 days. She indicates that as time goes by, other prisoners may join as they learn of the actions that the others are taking.

Ruth Martínez Ortiz, sister of political prisoner Norlan Cárdenas Ortiz, indicated that the political prisoners of Gallery Five are part of those who have initiated this action in demand of freedom.

"This all began on Monday, May 31, when they identified a way of protesting by going into rebellion, not signing, not accepting the famous "chupeta" that the prison gives out and not letting their photos be taken so that they do not continue to say that they are fine, because they will only be fine when they are free", she explained.

Martínez's brother has been detained since December 2019. His relatives detail that he was accused of allegedly having committed the crimes of obstruction of functions, illegal possession of restricted weapons and possession of explosives. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and, to date, has been incarcerated for 18 months.

Throughout the time that he has been detained, both Cárdenas and the relatives who come to visit him denounce that they have suffered “violations from the officials” of the Jorge Navarro Penitentiary System, known as "La Modelo".

Martínez denounces that, during visits, her brother's wife has been subjected to tedious admission processes, when officials tell her that they have lost her documents or that they pretend not to find her in the records. She points out that, three months ago, her mother was injured on an occasion when she was standing in line to enter the prison to visit her brother, when she was pushed by an official who made her fall and hit her knee.

"She didn’t want to denounce so that they would not do anything to my brother in retaliation", she commented.

Family members are also rebelling

Martínez explains that for the past eleven months, the relatives had agreed to sign statements that were given to them by the prison authorities during each visit, in which they were obliged to "put on record that we found our relative in excellent conditions, that he receives medical attention, food and visits, that we were welcomed very cordially", so that there would be no reprisals against their imprisoned relatives.

"We signed to avoid reprisals and because we had the hope that they would be released now that the electoral reforms were going to take place. We did not want them to do anything so as not to spoil it, but when we saw that nothing happened with the reform or the release, we supported the action that they initiated and now we do not sign," she explains.

She warns that the political prisoners are organized, in the midst of the communication difficulties they have, and "they say that if there are no releases they are going to intensify this resistance".

Threat of transfers to maximum security cells

Karen González, wife of political prisoner Wilber Antonio Prado Gutiérrez, who has been detained since January 2020, explains that he is carrying out "rebellious actions" and has begun to receive threats from prison officials.

"He told me that he was no longer going for medical check-ups, or signing, nor accepting the “chupeta” so that they would not take his picture, but that the officials began to retaliate... He told me that the day of the conjugal visit - when I had already left - they took him out and told him that if he continued in rebellion they were going to send him to the maximum security cells, because they are the ones in charge", she denounced.

Prado Gutiérrez was accused of committing the crime of attempted homicide and was sentenced to 26 years in prison. The man has already been incarcerated for more than 16 months, since he has been arrested twice. The first time he was deprived of his freedom was from September 3, 2018 to April 5, 2019.  Then, he was recaptured in January 2020 and he is still incarcerated to date.

What Prado’s wife and the relatives of the more than 130 political prisoners of the Ortega regime demand "is their immediate freedom, because this is a suffering for them as well as for us, because they are innocent and do not deserve a single minute more inside those jails".

Now, with the threats suffered by the political prisoners who are exercising rebellious actions, both women demand that their physical integrity be respected and that no punishment be imposed on them for peacefully demanding their freedom.

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