In a political trial that lasted more than 24 hours, the Ortega judge Ángel Jeancarlos Fernández González, of the Fourth Criminal District Court of Managua, declared the businessmen guilty. Michael Healey Y Alvaro Vargas, former president and former vice president, respectively, of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep).
Both bosses’ leaders were tried and charged for the alleged crime of “undermining national integrity” and for having “conspired against the rights of the Nicaraguan people and society.”
The Sandinista Prosecutor’s Office requested 13 years in prison for Healy, for “undermining national integrity” and nine years for Vargas for “conspiracy to undermine national integrity”. The sentencing will take place on May 10.
The process began on Thursday, April 28 and ended at three in the afternoon this Friday. It took place in the Judicial Assistance Directorate (DAJ), known as “El Nuevo Chipote, in Managua, where they have been held for six months.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) described the process against the last two hostages of conscience that remained to be judged as a “judicial farce.”
The two former COSEP directors are the last two political prisoners on a list of more than 30 opponents to be tried, before them the former ambassador to the OAS was prosecuted, Edward Parrales.
They were all captured in a police raid that began between May and November 2021, prior to the presidential elections without competition, where the dictator Daniel Ortega prevailed for another five years in power.
Arrested in October 2021
Healy and Vargas were arrested on October 21, 2021. Healy was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office for an “interview” in the case of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), that same day he was arrested minutes after giving a statement before the Ortega authorities. While Vargas was captured in his home.
Upon his departure from the Public Ministry, the former Cosep president was incredulous when the media asked him if he was not afraid of being imprisoned by the regime after the interview, as happened with the political prisoners Mauricio Díaz and Félix Maradiaga, among others. Healy said, “I don’t think they’re taking me into custody,” those were his last words publicly.
To date, all the hostages of conscience remain captive in “El Nuevo Chipote.” It is unknown if they will be transferred to a prison. For its part, the Ortega regime shows no sign of wanting to free them, rather it continues to rant against the entire opposition.