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Relatives visit Ortega’s political prisoners for first time in 3 months

Some political prisoners have health problems, such as skin fungus and vision loss, said former political prisoner Ivania Álvarez

La Modelo

Más de una treintena de presos políticos vieron a sus familiares en La Modelo y La Esperanza, tras casi tres meses de incomunicación. Foto: Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

25 de junio 2023


After almost three months of incommunicado detention, some thirty political prisoners were transferred on June 9th from the Managua District III jails to the Jorge Navarro Penitentiary System known as La Modelo, and to the women’s prison, La Esperanza. There, they managed to see their relatives in a special thirty-minute visit, confirmed different sources consulted by Confidencial.

Relatives of political prisoners found them “fine” in general; although some of them have health problems, such as skin fungus and vision issues, because they are subjected to a predominantly dark environment, reported the released political activist Ivania Álvarez.

She stressed that in some cases, relatives have not seen the prisoners because they do not have money to travel from their departments, such as Chinandega or Boaco, to Managua.

The men were located in galleries 16 and 17 of La Modelo, while the twelve women detained in La Esperanza were distributed in four cells, three in each, according to a source close to the prisoners.

Another source close to a relative of one of the political prisoners said that one of the inmates was not allowed to receive the food their relative brought, and that the meeting was monitored the entire time.

After this visit, there will supposedly be monthly visits, since in several cases they were given visiting dates, as well as days for the delivery of weekly parcels and medicines.

A relative of political prisoner Olesia Múñoz, who was recaptured on April 6, said that La Esperanza’s treatment “is much better” than in the police station where she was previously held, where the officers only gave her one meal, despite the fact that her family brought her lunch and dinner.  

Muñoz, a native of Niquinohomo, Masaya, and music teacher serving the local Church since her release from prison in 2019, watched police officers eat the cookies and chocolates that relatives brought to other inmates in Police District III where she was first held. In La Esperanza, the source said, Muñoz has received medical attention to monitor her diabetes, neuropathy, and gastritis.

No information about their “court cases”

These prisoners were captured in April, when the Ortega-Murillo regime launched a roundup against parishioners of the Catholic Church and opponents throughout the country. The detainees have no information about their court cases, despite the fact that at least seven – including TV journalist Víctor Ticay – have already been convicted of crimes that, until now, remain hidden in the digital system of the Judiciary.

In the case of Muñoz, Ticay, and student leader Jasson Salazar, they were accused by the Prosecutor’s Office of the catch-all crimes of “undermining national integrity” and “propagation of false news.”

The others convicted, under file number 007008-ORM4-2023-PN, are Martha Lorena Centeno Marín; Hazel del Socorro Martínez Ulloa; Luis Enrique Obando Palma; Ivonne Patricia Espinoza Hurtado; Brenda Lee Baldelomar Aleman; and Anner Herrera.

“The objective of not allowing a private lawyer hired by the victim or the family is that they do not have access to any documentation of the case to prove the judicial atrocities being committed,” said lawyer Yonarqui Martínez.

The political prisoners commented that during their stay in District III, several times they were taken to the capital’s courts, but they have no additional information about their own legal cases.

The other political defendants

Since May, the dictatorship abducted and prosecuted more than 50 people from at least eleven departments, also accusing them of “undermining national integrity” and “spreading false news.” In the express closed-door hearings, the Ortega justice ordered their conditional release, forcing them to present themselves to sign-in daily in their respective police departments.

These people also have no information about their court cases and are waiting to see what happens, including the possibility of being kidnapped from one moment to the next. Meanwhile, every day they must sign-in at their police department, wait for their photo to be taken, and suffer discrimination from neighbors or friends who have distanced themselves for fear that the dictatorship will subject them to the same process, Alvarez said.

The Ortega-Murillo regime currently holds more than 50 political prisoners (including Bishop Rolando Alvarez). Despite the national and international demand for Ortega to release his political prisoners, he continues to subject them to a policy of terror, according to human rights defenders.

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.