Three leaders of the peasant movement, including a candidate for the presidency of Nicaragua, as well as two leaders of a student organization, were arrested on Monday night in the Central American country. which increased to 26 the number of opponents of the government of President Daniel Ortega who have been detained since the beginning of June, with a few months left until the presidential election.
The arrests were announced by the Nicaraguan police on Tuesday.
Among the three leaders of the imprisoned Peasants’ Movement are Medardo Mairena, a possible candidate in the November 7th presidential election, and Pedro Mena.
Both were sentenced to 200 years in prison for “terrorism” and other offenses, as they were charged with police killings during anti-government protests in 2018. They were released under a June 2019 amnesty granted by law.
Two leaders of a student organization, Lester Alleman and Mach Heres, who were accused of being the “instigators” of the occupation of two universities during the 2018 demonstrations, were also arrested. They were also released with the amnesty of 2019.
In 2018, Lester Alleman, 23, had gained a reputation in the opposition by demanding the resignation of the current president Daniel Ortega. “We can not have a dialogue with a killer,” he had said.
«They thought they were emperors, but in reality they are just little miserable people“Rosario Mourinho, vice president and wife of Daniel Ortega, said yesterday, without naming any of the detainees.
The five arrested are accused of “undermining the independence and national sovereignty” of the country and “inciting foreign intervention” within it, under the new legislative arsenal recently voted by parliament, which is dominated by the party of the head of state.
“Every day the possibility of free, fair and equitable elections in Nicaragua is removed. “The harassment and persecution of dissidents’ voices does not stop,” said Antonia Urechola, chair of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ECHR).
Amnesty International called for a “more proactive and coordinated response” from the international community. accusing the Nicaraguan government of “increasingly despising and violating human rights.”
Six possible candidates in the presidential election have been arrested since June 2nd. Among them is Christiana Chamorro, 67, the daughter of former President Violeta Barrios Chamorro (1990-1997), who defeated Daniel Ortega.
Among the other people arrested are figures human rights defenders, businessmen, journalists, students, as well as former Sandinista guerrillas – former comrades-in-arms of the president – who distanced themselves from Daniel Ortega after returning to power in 2007. He was president from 1979 to 1990.
Mr Ortega, 75, who is expected to run for a fourth consecutive term, saysThe arrested persons are neither “candidates” nor “politicians”, but “criminals” who threatened the “security of the country” and conspired to organize a “coup” in order to overthrow him, with US financial assistance.
For their part, opponents of the president accuse the former leader of the struggle against the dictatorship of imposing his own dictatorial regime, together with his wife, with characteristics of nepotism and corruption.
In the uprising against the government of Daniel Ortega that broke out in April 2018, at least 328 people were killed, thousands were injured, thousands of protesters were still imprisoned, and more than 100,000 Nicaraguan people were exiled.