Supreme Court "permanently" suspends 25 lawyers Ortega had already stripped of their nationality

FSLN justices rule against fifteen of the political prisoners deported to the U.S. and ten of the group of 94, all stripped of their nationality

De arriba a abajo: Yonarqui Martínez, María Oviedo, Gonzalo Carrión, Vilma Núñez, Álvaro Leiva, Róger Reyes, Uriel Pineda y Mónica López Baltodano, todos defensores de derechos humanos.

17 de mayo 2023


Nicaragua's Supreme Court "permanently" suspended the titles of lawyer and notary public of 25 Nicaraguan attorneys. Fifteen of them were former political prisoners –of the 222 exiled in February to the United States-- and ten of them were in the group of 94 persons stripped of their nationality, accused by the Ortega government of being "traitors to the homeland".

One of those affected is the novelist Sergio Ramírez, winner of the 2017 Cervantes Award. The resolution was adopted at noon on Thursday, May 11, 2023 at the National Council of Judicial Administration, but wasn't published on the Judiciary's site until 8:00pm.

The two resolutions were signed by the president of the Supreme Court, Alba Luz Ramos, vice president Marvin Aguilar, and justice Juana Méndez. All of them are close to the regime and with a history of subordinating their judicial decisions to the will of Daniel Ortega's dictatorship.

According to the FSLN justices, the 25 lawyers "lost the right to exercise said profession [attorney and notary public], by virtue of having lost their Nicaraguan nationality" and, therefore, they are ordered to submit, within 24 hours, all of their attorney and notary titles, protocols and identification cards.

Ortega's new reprisal against his critics comes two days after a resolution was approved on May 9 when the Judiciary applied the same measure to the attorney Yonarqui Martinez, following her denunciation of the human rights abuses committed on May 3 when police deployed agents in 13 regions, captured 57 people and indicted 30 in Managua courts during one long night of terror.

Strike 1: Against the lawyers who were among the deported and banished political prisoners 

The first resolution was against 15 lawyers from the group of ex-political prisoners banished to the United States. It was approved at 11:10am in compliance with the sentence issued on February 8 and 9, 2023, when the Nicaraguan regime surprised the world by sending 222 political prisoners to U.S. soil.

Among those affected with this punitive measure are politicians, ex-diplomats, human rights defenders, three former Supreme Court workers, and a supporter of the governing party punished for questioning Rosario Murillo on social networks.

In this first group are: 

  1. Edgard Parrales Castillo, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the OAS 
  2. José Bernard Pallais, former Vice Foreign Minister 
  3. Noel José Vidaurre, former presidential candidate
  4. Roberto Emilio Larios Meléndez, former Supreme Court spokesman
  5. José Noel Talavera Arauz
  6. Hugo Ramón Rodríguez Flores
  7. Marlon Gerardo Sáenz Cruz, FSLN supporter who criticized Murillo 
  8. Ana Margarita Vigil Gurdián, leader of UNAMOS
  9. Osman Marcel Aguilar Rodríguez
  10. Moisés Abraham Astorga Sáenz, former Supreme Court staff member
  11. María del Socorro Oviedo, human rights defender 
  12. Manuel de Jesús Sobalvarro Bravo
  13. Roger Reyes Barrera, human rights defender 
  14. Hader Humberto González Zeledón
  15. María José Camacho Chevez, former Supreme Court staff member

Strike 2: Punishing the group of 94 stripped of their nationality 

The other "suspended" attorneys are lawyers who belong to the group of 94 Nicaraguans who were stripped of their citizenship on February 15, when the Court also ordered the seizure of their assets.

To adopt the resolution, the Supreme Court justices cited the sentence handed down on February 15, 2023, when the Tenth Criminal District Court of Managua stripped 94 citizens of their nationality.

The Supreme Court suspended the title of attorney and notary of the following persons:

  1. Sergio Ramírez Mercado, writer and novelist, Cervantes Award
  2. Rafael Solís Cerda, former Supreme Court justice who resigned in 2019 in protest of Ortega's repression. 
  3. Mónica Augusta López Baltodano, environmentalist and researcher on interoceanic canal project corruption
  4. Uriel de Jesús Pineda, human rights defender
  5. Héctor Ernesto Mairena, leader of UNAMOS
  6. Guillermo Gonzalo Carrión, human rights defender
  7. Eliseo Núñez, former opposition legislator 
  8. Manuel Jacinto Díaz
  9. Álvaro Leiva Sánchez, human rights defender
  10. Vilma Núñez de Escorcia, human rights defender

Initial reactions condemn the repression

Minutes later, several of the lawyers suspended by Ortega reported on the Court's resolutions and expressed their solidarity with the others affected. Roger Reyes and Uriel Pineda were among those who reacted quickly.

Mónica López Baltodano said on her social media platforms that the regime can try to make the titles she received from the Supreme Court after she finished her studies disappear, but that "too bad for them, but they are already too late, because they won't be able to make disappear in their bonfires of ignorance my three books based on ten years of legal struggle in coordination with environmentalists and the Anti-Canal Peasant Movement."

The former secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Paulo Abrão, denounced in his Twitter account that without the right to defense there can be no justice or democracy: "The regime in Nicaragua no longer tries to disguise its authoritarianism and disbars 25 brave lawyers who fulfill their professional duties to defend politically persecuted people and their families," he said.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff.

Octavio Enríquez

Periodista nicaragüense, exiliado en Costa Rica. Comenzó su carrera en el año 2000, cuando todavía era estudiante. Por sus destacadas investigaciones periodísticas ha ganado el Premio Ortega y Gasset, el Premio Internacional de Periodismo Rey de España, el Premio a la Excelencia de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, y el Premio Latinoamericano de Periodismo de Investigación del Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS).


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