The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) welcomed the arrival in the United States as refugees of 222 former Nicaraguan political prisoners released by the government of Daniel Ortega, but demanded that their rights in Nicaragua be restored “as soon as possible.” .
“What happened today is not, however, a ‘liberation’. These people were unjustly imprisoned -some for years- for thinking, expressing or writing their opinions contrary to the prevailing regime in Nicaragua,” the OAS said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“Many of them were tortured, isolated from all contact with the outside world” and convicted in trials without any guarantee for alleged “treason against the homeland” and “incitement to violence, terrorism and economic destabilization,” among other alleged crimes ”, the document recalled.
It added that “they were stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality and all their citizenship rights ‘in perpetuity’ and arrive in the United States supposedly ‘deported’ from their own country.”
“His freedom is great news, especially for his family and friends, and also for defenders of human rights and democracy in the Americas,” the OAS said.
The Pan-American body demanded that, however, “the crimes committed against these people must not go unpunished, and their rights must be restored as soon as possible.”
“In Nicaragua there are still people imprisoned and tortured for thinking differently, there are still people who live daily in fear of being arrested, tried and sentenced without any legal and procedural guarantee. The Nicaraguan regime continues to be oblivious to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights, and we have to continue denouncing its abuses,” the statement said.
According to the OAS, “however, there is still a long way to go until all Nicaraguans, without exception, can once again enjoy freedom in their own country.”
The General Secretariat “recognizes and applauds the role played by the United States government in the operation, welcoming these people and facilitating their transportation. The efforts of President Biden’s Administration, successfully completed today, are an example of effective political work in favor of human rights”.
“The release of these political prisoners is also a demonstration that international pressure is essential with dictatorships.”
The OAS highlighted that now “the path is clear and depends entirely on the Nicaraguan regime: mainly, to return to democracy, to democratic institutions, to respect for the fundamental rights of Nicaraguans and to call free and fair elections, with international observation.