In the early hours of this Thursday, February 9, the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship released 222 political prisoners, who were held in different prisons in the country, revealed sources linked to the relatives of the prisoners.
Diplomatic sources confirmed that the prisoners were sent out of the country on a charter flight that travels to the United States, where it will arrive in the US capital at noon.
Among those released are prisoners held in the Modelo and La Esperanza prisons for more than two years, and others who have remained in the infamous El Chipote jail and under house arrest for up to 600 days.
During Wednesday night, the hundreds of prisoners were taken from their cells and boarded on buses that took them to an unknown destination. Several of the prisoners who were under house arrest were also taken.
In recent weeks, Ortega judges applied “accessory penalties” to the sentences of political prisoners in which they impose an alleged “perpetual disqualification” of their political and civil rights.
Lawyers who are experts in criminal law described these sentences as “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”, because they do not exist in the Nicaraguan legal framework. They further demanded the annulment of the spurious trials so that all prisoners of conscience fully recover their freedom and political rights
While the flight that transports the 222 political prisoners to the United States, the Ortega-Murillo regime has not provided any information about their release.
Ortega has spewed hate in his speeches
In November 2021, after his third illegitimate re-election, Daniel Ortega delivered the first of his most virulent speeches against the political prisoners, which he ordered jailed to nullify his electoral and political competition.
Ortega called the political prisoners “sons of bitches of the imperialists”, in addition to his customary epithets of “traitors and sellouts”, to deny them their status as Nicaraguans.
“Just as President (Franklin D.) Roosevelt said that Somoza was a son of a bitch, but that he was our son of a bitch, those who are imprisoned there are the sons of bitches of the Yankee imperialists. They should be taken to the United States because they are not Nicaraguans, they do not have a homeland. There they can serve for what they are, slaves of the empire, traitors to the homeland,” Ortega shouted to the applause of his followers.
Last January, Daniel Ortega also used his first speech of 2023, during the installation of the new legislative period, to make it clear that he will not exonerate the 235 political prisoners despite the “campaigns” for their release. He assured that “not even with a life sentence” could they pay off the damage that, according to him, they caused to Nicaragua during the massive protests of 2018, which he again described as a “bloody attempted coup d’état.”
The US says it was a “unilateral decision”
The Biden administration informed the US congress today that the exile of the Nicaraguan political prisoners was a "unilateral decision" of the Nicaraguan Government, although it stressed that "we welcome these people to the United States."
"While we have constantly pressed publicly and privately for the release of political prisoners in Nicaragua, the Government of Nicaragua made its own decision to release them," the US government explained.
Biden noted that the United States facilitated transportation and entry into the United States and will provide "emergency support," which includes medical care, provision of essential items, basic living costs, and psychosocial monitoring.
"We cannot comment on the details of the people released by the Government of Nicaragua, apart from indicating that included in this group is Mr. Michael Healy, a citizen with dual US and Nicaraguan nationality," the communication said.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.