Three months and three days have passed since the vice president of the April 19th Student Movement, Jasson Salazar, was abducted from his home in Managua. During this time, he has only been seen once by his relatives and his judicial status is practically “unknown.”
A representative of the student group explained that there is practically “no information” about the legal case against Salazar. “There is no way to access the file, neither physically nor digitally.” However, unofficially it is known that “he is being prosecuted for cybercrimes and treason.”
Given this lack of information, the student organization is promoting a campaign on social networks to demand the release of Salazar. They also requested from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) a series of precautionary measures that were approved on June 21, after considering that he is in “a serious and urgent situation of risk of irreparable damage to his rights in Nicaragua”.
According to a student organization source, Salazar —who since his arrest on April 4 had remained in the Managua District III police station— was taken on June 8 to an initial hearing at the Managua Judicial Complex. They warn about the start of “a bogus trial”.
A family visit in La Modelo
The next day, June 9, Salazar was transferred to the National Penitentiary System, known as La Modelo, where on June 12, after 72 days, his family was finally able to visit him for approximately 20 minutes. However, the student source clarified that the family did not authorize them to provide information about the physical and emotional state in which they found him.
“It was a relief for them (family members) to see him,” the source said. “I know that the visit process was a bit stressful, since he is in one of the galleys that are at the end of the Penitentiary System. They had to walk approximately three kilometers to see him,” he stressed.
The source also pointed out that the student leader received his first “package of food”, but warns that he does not know if the visits and the delivery of packages will take place monthly, as is the case with common prisoners, since the regime’s treatment of political prisoners is different.
“He has only had one visit and I understand that the next one will be in mid-July, but we are not sure. Until that happens, we will update because it can happen as in other cases, that they were given the first visit and then waited two months to have the second one,” said the student source.
Under the protection of a public defender
Regarding the legal case against Salazar, the source noted that the judge rejected the defense proposed by the family of the student leader, and instead assigned a public defender for the hearing held on June 8.
“This is very different from other situations that have occurred with political prisoners because the flow of information, if before it was little, is now absolutely nil. There is no legitimate legal defense on behalf of Jasson, but rather they put a public defender who remains silent at the hearings,” stressed the representative of the April 19th Student Movement.
Meanwhile, the IACHR indicated, when granting the precautionary measures to the student leader, the State continues without providing information that would allow it to determine that the identified risk factors have been duly mitigated.