Home Central americaNicaragua Organizations of former political prisoners call for the release of the 10 prisoners of conscience, arrested before 2018

Organizations of former political prisoners call for the release of the 10 prisoners of conscience, arrested before 2018

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Marvin Vargas, un excachorro de Sandino encarcelado por el mismo régimen que defendió en los 80

The Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners, in its latest report, records that in Nicaragua there are 64 prisoners of conscience who are detained for disagreeing with government policies. However, their statistics highlight 10 convicted before 2018, whom they include as political prisoners.

The “9 of 19” and “el puppies” are known as the first 10 political prisoners detained before 2018. They are considered by human rights organizations as prisoners of conscience. They are José Oliver Meza, Rosendo Huerta, Zacarías Cano, José Ricardo Cortez, Leonel Poveda, Jairo Obando, Eddy Gutiérrez, Wilfredo Balmaceda and Marvin Vargas.

Related news: “They are illegally imprisoned”, released Nicaraguan politicians continue to campaign for the release of more than 60 imprisoned opponents of Ortega

The longest-serving political prisoner is Marvin Vargas, “El Cachorro”, who has been in prison for more than 11 years, was initially accused of alleged fraud, when he completed his sentence he was sentenced to 12 and a half more years, accused of drug trafficking.

Vargas belonged to a group of ex-combatants called “Los Cachorros de Sandino”, who staged a series of protests in 2011, demanding that they fulfill the promises that the Ortega government made to them. That same year he was taken from a friend’s house by a strong police device and imprisoned to date.

The other 9 political prisoners were accused of being the alleged perpetrators of the attack on a caravan on the anniversary of July 19, 2014. Four people died in the attack, victims of a volley of shots. However, human rights defenders point out that the process was irregular and there are false testimonies. They remained for 11 months in Judicial Aid known as the old Chipote. According to the testimony they gave to political prisoners, they were tortured since their arrest.

The Reflection Group for Politically Released Prisoners and the Articulation of Social Movements has joined an intermittent campaign for the release of this group of men. They point out that they are victims of the system that has been implemented since then by the dictatorship to repress and carry out judicial processes outside the law.

This week, the relatives of Wilfredo Balmaceda, imprisoned since 2014, denounced his serious state of health, highlighting that he has been denied access to medical assistance.

Political prisoners recognized after 2018

The lawyer and defender of the Nunca Más Human Rights Collective Gonzalo Carrion confirms that they are the first 10 political prisoners. “Because of this shady clarification, with violations of the law, for all the abuses and lack of the principle of legality, (…) we do not know how these people are committed to this fact (the attack on the caravan of July 19, 2014)”, Carrión refers.

The judicial processes in which these 10 political prisoners were arrested and how their sentences were handed down, leave more doubts than answers, the lawyer highlighted. “There are 10 political prisoners with whom the dictatorship experimented, in terms of the form of violent detention, with torture and sentences without guarantee,” says the human rights defender.

The groups of released prisoners continue this week with a campaign on social networks, in which they post the image of these political prisoners, whose cases became visible after the arbitrary arrests of 2018, during the civic rebellion in April.

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