More than forty Nicaraguans were abducted on the night of Wednesday, May 3, and were accused in express hearings in the Managua courts for the alleged catch-all crimes of “conspiracy and undermining of national integrity” and “propagation of false news,” various sources confirmed to Confidencial.
The coordinated Police kidnappings were carried out at nightfall on Wednesday, in several departments of the country, including Rivas, Chontales, Masaya, Río San Juan, Chinandega, Estelí and Jinotega. The arrested were presented before Ortega-controlled judges, who ordered their conditional release, forcing them to appear and sign in daily at their local police station starting today Thursday.
According to our sources, the kidnapped were taken directly from their homes by the Police to courts in Managua. They were presented in groups by department of origin. The Ortega judges, faithful to the dictatorship, admitted the accusations presented by several prosecutors, while they imposed public defenders on the defendants, also aligned with the Ortega regime, said the attorney Yonarqui Martínez, who has been monitoring the raid.
The preliminary hearings were held between the night of this Wednesday and the early morning of this Thursday, May 4. Once the defendants left their hearings, they were put on buses and taken to their homes by officers of the departmental Police.
Among those kidnapped and now awaiting trial under probation are human rights defenders-Harold Antonio González, originally from San Pedro de Lovago, Chontales-, journalists-William Aragón, former correspondent for La Prensa; opponents – Danelia Argüello-; territorial leaders and members of the Farmer’s Movement – Octavio Ortega, from Rivas and Teresa Mena, from Juigalpa; Mary Cruz Bermudez, mother of the first murdered during the April 2018 demonstrations, Richard Pavon Bermudez, a member of the Mothers of April Association (AMA), and many more.
The wave of arrests included break-ins and robberies with violence, according to the sources, who requested that their names not be used for security reasons. Police arrived looking for phones and computers, which they took away and did not return. In some cases they also stole money and valuables.
More violations of laws
The Ortega justice system, once again, fabricated crimes for the repression against the population. More than 50 Nicaraguans were sentenced for alleged conspiracy, detriment to the nation and propagation of false news, who on February 9th were part of a group of 222 former political prisoners denationalized and made stateless by the Daniel Ortega regime.
Lawyer Martínez points out that this police and judicial action lacks legality, representing violations of due process such as arrests and searches after six in the afternoon; those captured were taken from their local judges and forced to face a judicial process in Managua. They were also not allowed a trusted lawyer. “It is not a fair process, it is riddled with annulments,” she said.
This is the largest wave of kidnappings carried out in the same night, after the dictatorship’s police attack in the context of the 2021 general vote, in which more than 30 social, civic and opposition leaders were arrested.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times