US senators, human rights organizations and the international community have condemned the guilty verdicts against the political prisoners in Nicaragua, specifically that of the presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro, who was emerging as the favorite in the polls to defeat Daniel Ortega in the elections on November 7, where the Sandinista president won a new presidential term.
Senator Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, recently rejected Chamorro’s conviction and called for the release of the rest of the “political prisoners” detained in 2021.
“Now what [Ortega] the presidency has been stolen again, Chamorro and the people of Nicaragua have been sentenced to many more years in prison and oppression, just for believing and asking for freedom,” the Republican senator said in an email to the Voice of America. The senator asked the Biden government to “stand up, lead the world to stand up and support Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.”
Also read: The US sanctions nine Nicaraguan officials for trials of opponents
Along the same lines, Senator Marco Rubio also assured that the conviction of Chamorro “reaffirms the lack of the rule of law in the authoritarian dynasty” of Ortega and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo.
Rubio asked the government of President Joe Biden to use “all the diplomatic tools” of the Renacer law, signed by the president in November of last year. The legislation, approved in a bipartisan manner in the Senate, establishes measures of pressure and review of economic measures to put pressure on Ortega.
Freedom House: Conviction was predictable
Alessandra Pina, deputy director of the program for Latin America at Freedom House, considers that Chamorro’s sentence was predictable and says that they were not surprised that his trial “has been a judicial farce, characterized by substantive violations of due process.”
“The days of the hearing demonstrated the lack of respect for the fundamental rights recognized by Nicaraguan law and international standards,” Pina added to the voice of america.
Also read: Seven candidates for the presidency of Nicaragua found guilty
Freedom House, an organization based in Washington DC, sees the Chamorro case as not “an isolated one” but “the repetition of a systematic pattern of selective repression.”
For her part, Pina explained that the Chamorro case generates a domino effect: “at the end of the day, the victims are not only the candidates for the elections (…) but also the 169 political prisoners and all Nicaraguan citizens.”
Similarly, the European Union, Costa Rica and other entities have spoken out for the trials in Managua where guilty verdicts have been issued without any surprise.
For now, the United States has included several Nicaraguan officials in the so-called “Engel List” for political trials, including a judge from Managua, but the results have been minimized by the ruling party that has said that they are “interference”.
Lawyers will appeal
Cristiana Chamorro, her brother Pedro Joaquín IThree former employees of the Violeta Barrios Foundation They were found guilty on March 11 of several charges charged by the justice system related to President Daniel Ortega.
Lawyer Maynor Curtis, who leads the defense of former deputy Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, told the VOA that the trial against the opponents was full of various inconsistencies, just like the other recently sentenced political prisoners.
“The defense evidence was not valued correctly,” Curtis told this media outlet.
Curtis mentioned that Cristiana Chamorro, who was charged with money laundering as part of other charges, could not be proven.
“As far as I understand, more than 80% of the donations were USAID. One of the prosecution’s witnesses said that the USAID funds were legal funds. He was asked if the USAID funds are illegal funds and he answered no. That is a problem that there was for the demonstration of the crime of money laundering. If you do not have the illicit money, it will be difficult for you to prove money laundering. “
For that reason, the lawyer indicated that they will “appeal” the sentence, however some opponents have little hope that said management prospers due to the iron control that the ruling party maintains over justice.
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