Nicaragua

Political Prisoners’ Kin Demand Freedom “Be a Priority” in an Election Year

Relatives of more than a hundred political prisoners called this Thursday on the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) to pressure the Ortega government to release the dissidents. This, they demand, as an additional condition to the reforms of the Electoral Law required for fair elections next November.

“We seek all organizations and associations demand the freedom of at least 106 political prisoners still in the dungeons of the Ortega Murillo dictatorship,” Ruth Martinez Ortiz, sister of the imprisoned opponent Norlan Cardenas Ortiz, told reporters.

Grievances to COSEP

The petitioners, mostly wives, sisters or daughters of political prisoners, turned to COSEP because they consider it a key actor in the Nicaraguan political scene. Besides being the main employer, they were Ortega’s main collaborator in the so-called “Public Private Partnership Model.” The COSEP-government marriage collapsed in April 2018, amid the crisis.

“We relatives of political prisoners ask, both the business and political sectors, to make freedom the priority. We know that in an electoral year much will be said about electoral reforms. However, in order to participate in elections, the priority must be the release of political prisoners.”

The relatives of the imprisoned opponents were received at COSEP headquarters. However, it is not known whether the business executives gave them an answer.

After the release of political prisoners Juana Estela Lopez, 59; Justo Rodriguez, 67; and Margarito Garcia, 49; on December 18, the number of political prisoners of the Ortega regime is 106.

Imposition of “house arrest”

Additionally, to those in prison, the Ortega regime maintains a siege against opponents in several Nicaraguan cities. This is the case since the rebellion of April 2018. However, since mid-2020, the siege and the “house arrest” modality have increased. The upsurge coincides with the mobilization of opposition groups to organize at the local level. They do so in the face of eventual elections and civic resistance against the police state.

The organizations have held meetings in municipalities and departments to establish leadership councils or delegations. The meetings have taken place in an atmosphere of harassment, intimidation and violence by Police and Ortega supporters.

More than 80 opponents live under siege by the police, civilians and paramilitaries in different municipalities of Nicaragua. Some suffer it permanently, and others on different days and timing.

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