The Nicaraguan authorities showed on Tuesday (30) for the first time a group of incarcerated opponents who are considered political prisoners by humanitarian organizations, a day after their relatives denounced that they were suffering from malnutrition and extreme weight loss.
Among the opponents taken to an informational hearing at the Judicial Complex in Managua were three opposition leaders who were intended to be candidates for the presidency of Nicaragua in the last elections, two student leaders, a business leader, an academic and three collaborators from the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation.
The magistrate Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh, president of the Managua Court of Appeal, notified the condemned opponents, all men , on the progress of the judicial process, in a hearing to which only the official press and media linked to Sandinismo had access, who shared photographs and videos of the prisoners on their digital platforms. itais.
The three presidential candidates of the opposition, who intended to challenge the dictator Daniel Ortega in the elections of last November and that were presented by the official press and with a Sandinista profile, are Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Medardo Mairena and Miguel Mora.
Also introduced was student leader Lesther Alemán, aged 24, who scolded Ortega during the start of a failed national dialogue in May 2018; as well as the president of the University Alliance of Nicaragua (AUN), Max Jérez.
In addition, the businessman Michael Healy, who was arrested when he chaired the Superior Council of the Private Enterprise (Cosep), was present at the hearing. ), Nicaragua’s main employer leadership; and the political scientist and co-author of two books José Antonio Peraza Collado.
The other three were the general accountant and financial administrator of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, Marcos Fletes and Walter Gómez, respectively, and Pedro Vásquez, personal driver for the NGO’s director, Cristiana Chamorro.
According to the images shared, some of the detainees appear thin and pale, especially peasant leader Medardo Mairena, businessman Healy and two foundation collaborators.
The day before, the detainees’ relatives reported that the authorities had drastically reduced the food portions in El Chipote prison, “causing more malnutrition and extreme weight loss” in the detained opponents .
Opposition leaders, students, peasants, businessmen, journalists and independent professionals are imprisoned in the El Chipote police prison, officially known as the Directorate of Judicial Assistance, including seven opponents who tended to run for president in the November elections of last year.
Opponents, detained between May and November of 2021, were sentenced to sentences ranging from 7 to
years in prison for crimes considered as “treason to the country” or money laundering.
Ortega has already described them as “traitors to the country”, “criminals” and “children of the whore of the Yankee imperialists”.
In their complaint, the detainees’ relatives demanded “an urgent increase in portions, as well as the improvement of the nutritional value of the diet of our family members”.
For his part, exiled human rights defender Pablo Cuevas told journalists today that the Ortega government portrays political prisoners as part of a “campaign of terror” to “intimidate Nicaraguan citizens”.
“The dictatorship took a false step with all this attack on religious freedom and the kidnapping of priests and lay people, and they know that internationally questioning, discredit and illegitimacy have increased” , said Nicaraguan activist Haydée Castillo.
According to Castillo, the authorities “are trying to wash their face before the international community”.