Michelle Bachelet

Bachelet: “We have been demanding that the authorities release political prisoners”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said Wednesday that they have been “demanding” the Nicaraguan authorities to release the political prisoners detained during last year’s voting, in which Daniel Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term.

“In Nicaragua we have many people who have been arrested in the context of the 2021 elections, it is extremely disturbing, and we have been demanding that the authorities release political prisoners,” Bachelet said in an interview recorded and broadcast during the first day of the first “Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Latin America” ​​forum, held on the outskirts of Panama City.

In the presidential elections held on November 7 in Nicaragua, harshly criticized by the international community, Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, fourth in a row, and second along with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president. There was a wave of arrests in the framework of the controversial elections, which landed more than 60 critics of Ortega and independent professionals in jail, including seven citizens who aspired to compete for the Presidency.

Bachelet criticized that the Ortega government has ordered the closure of non-governmental organizations, only 75 so far this May, and pointed out that they are also suing the Nicaraguan authorities to “restore legal status.”

“The government continues to cancel the legal status of the companies and we also sue the authorities to restore the status because the organizations are being sanctioned,” he added.

In Nicaragua, with the vote of the Sandinista deputies and their allies, who are the majority in the National Assembly (Parliament), the legal personality of at least 248 organizations has been canceled from 2018 to date.

“There is also new legislation that connects with NGOs restricting the functioning of civil society that goes against human rights,” added Bachelet.

13 days ago, the General Law for the Regulation and Control of Non-Profit Organizations entered into force, which redefined the concept of NGOs.

“I believe that Nicaragua should remain on the international agenda,” he pointed out.

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