The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo denied entry to their country to the lawyer Francisco Omar Gutiérrez, 62, appointed as the defense attorney of Monsignor José Leonardo Urbina, sentenced to 49 years in prison for the alleged crime of rape of a minor, although Ortega justice never authorized him to exercise defense.
“I was sentenced to exile. They took away my country, my roots, my family. They uprooted me in the most violent way that can exist. I planned the trip to visit my daughters who live in the United States, I hadn’t seen them for a year. Last year I left without a problem, so I decided that I would try because I thought about the possibility that they would tell me that I couldn’t leave Nicaragua and it was clear that if they didn’t let me, then I would return home, I considered that possibility, but I didn’t think in the possibility that they will not let me return to my country and now I am prohibited from returning to my homeland,” Gutiérrez denounced in an interview with CONFIDENTIAL.
The lawyer left Nicaragua on September 9 for Miami, United States, through the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua. When he left the country he had no major problem, he enjoyed his family visit trip, but, two days before returning, on September 13, he received an email from the Avianca airline, in which they notified him of the “immigration rejection” ordered by the Ortega Murillo regime.
“His entry has not been authorized by the Nicaraguan Immigration and Immigration authorities. You will not be allowed to board,” says the message sent by Avianca.
Gutiérrez affirms that he complied with all the migratory requirements, for which he values that the decision not to allow him to return to his country has to do with political reasons, in retaliation because he has been a defense attorney for political prisoners and, recently, appointed by the family of the religious José Leonardo Urbina to exercise his defense.
“I have complied with all the laws of Nicaragua. I have no pending processes. I never received a complaint for my exercise, so for now I can only speculate, because they are the ones who made the decision, that they give me this sentence of exile for the last thing that I consider relevant and that is that I was appointed by Monsignor’s family Leonardo Urbina Rodríguez to defend him. I was appointed as defender on seven occasions, the family requested seven times, the last one last week, I went to court on those seven occasions to be appointed as Monsignor’s defender, and on four occasions I requested in writing my legal intervention, but I was never authorized to exercise defense,” he said.
He explained that Monsignor Urbina’s father, José Ángel Urbina, was the one who asked Judge Edén Aguilar, of the Third Specialized Court for Violence in Managua, to appoint him as his son’s defense attorney, but he never responded to the requests, blocking the appointment and maintaining Jennifer Eliett Hernández as public defender.
“The judge never answered anything. They tried him and convicted him, we even filed an appeal, but they never granted me legal intervention. In 30 years of practice, it is the first time that I see that a person who is prosecuted is not allowed the lawyer of his choice, ”said Gutiérrez.
“The monsignor’s case has been treated very viciously. They imposed a public defender on him, the State denounces him, that is, the Sandinista Front party denounces him to Monsignor, because in the first hearing councilors from the Sandinista Front came to the hearing, the Sandinista Police investigate him, the Sandinista Prosecutor’s Office accuses him, the The Sandinista public defender defends him and the Sandinista judge judges him, that is to say, all the stages of the judicial process, from the investigation, taken over, without the right to defense,” he added.
Persecuted for defending political prisoners
The lawyer denounced that the persecution against him dates back long before he was chosen as Monsignor Urbina’s defense, since he was always harassed, threatened and persecuted by the Police for having participated in the 2018 social protests and defending political prisoners of the Ortega regime. .
He explained that since 2019 he had been detained by Boaco Police commissioners who accused him of being “against the commander” for defending prisoners of conscience, interrogated him, took his handprints and threatened him, telling him if he knew for What were the rifles for?
“In the first days of April 2019, a commissioner who detained me told me that if I knew what the rifles were for, and she answered herself, she told me that they were used to kill and that the next time they would use them with real bullets,” he denounced.
He explained that on several occasions police patrols stationed themselves at his home in Boaco and denied him exit for up to two days. They also prohibited him from receiving visitors on a piece of land that he owned on the outskirts of Boaco and that he used for recreation, they took away his vehicle for several days without giving him a reason, and they suspended his license, alleging that he was speeding.
“When they canceled my license, the same policeman told me to excuse him, that he was just following orders,” he recalled.
Francisco Omar Gutiérrez affirms that he was a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), but was one of the members expelled for opposing the leadership of Daniel Ortega, proposing the candidacy of Herty Lewites, who died on July 2, 2006, in the midst of electoral campaign, four months before the general elections in which Daniel Ortega returned to power.
“We always opposed Daniel Ortega, we always warned that he was going to get bad, that he was not qualified to represent the party, at that time you could have an opinion, but all of us who thought that way were expelled, simply because we were going to compete against Daniel Ortega and we decided to propose Herty Lewites in the referendum. I was Herty’s campaign manager and I firmly had a banner outside my office that said: “I was born under one dictatorship, I don’t want to live under another”, and then put another one that said: ´Basta Ya´, remembering our phrase used in rejection to the Somoza dictatorship,” he stressed.
Now, uprooted from his country, Gutiérrez affirms that he is still not sure what he is going to do, since the news that he was stripped of his life in Nicaragua has “shocked” him. However, he stressed that the only option he has for now is to seek asylum in the United States, because the Ortega-Murillo regime does not allow him to return to his homeland.