Daniel Ortega’s regime changed the precautionary measure from preventive detention to house arrest for political prisoners: Arturo Cruz, 68 years old; Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, 77; and José Pallais Arana, 68; accused of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity”, due to his “state of health”, which he did not specify according to a statement from the Public Ministry released this Friday night.
The decision comes after the death of retired general Hugo Torres, also accused of “treason against the fatherland”, who died on Friday, February 11, in police custody, after having spent more than six months under the prison regime of torture, that broke his health and forced the Police to transfer him to a hospital in mid-December to treat an illness not yet specified by the authorities.
“The Public Ministry, upon learning of the state of health of the aforementioned persons, for humanitarian reasons, asked the judicial authority to change the precautionary measure from preventive detention to house arrest, which was authorized by the corresponding judicial authority,” Indian.
The order was executed at midnight this Friday. Cruz, Pallais, and Aguirre were taken to their homes, under police custody, where they slept for the first time after spending between six and more than eight months in the Chipote cells.
The Prosecutor’s Office did not specify the health status of the three beneficiaries of the change in prison regime, although their relatives demanded medical examinations during the trials that have not been carried out.
Relatives of some of the prisoners of conscience denounced, in interviews with CONFIDENTIALthat the state of the political prisoners is “alarming”, highlighting that even during the trial, held behind closed doors at the Directorate of Judicial Assistance, known as El Chipote, the political prisoner José Pallais fainted and had to be removed from the process to receive medical care.
They point out that they all show a serious weight loss, to the point that their bones are noticeable; weakness to walk and get up from the chairs where they are placed; and insecurity and fear when speaking.
They highlighted that one of the most worrying cases is that of Arturo Cruz, who managed to notice that, in addition to continuing to lose weight and having a visual problem in one of his eyes, he suffers from severe pain and “shows signs or symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease” .
The relatives of the political prisoners launched an SOS last Monday after the death of Torres, 73, after more than two months in which the regime kept his whereabouts and health condition hidden.
However, the Ortega-Murillo regime is keeping 17 elderly people who suffer from chronic illnesses in prison, 14 of them arrested in the months prior to the November 2021 vote, when Ortega was re-elected in a vote without democratic guarantees, eliminating the political competition order the arrest of the main political, economic and social leaders.
The political prisoners benefited
Cruz was a presidential candidate for the opposition Alianza Ciudadanos por la Libertad (CxL) and was captured at the International Airport in early June, upon returning from a trip to the United States, five months before the November 2021 elections.
He was ambassador to the United States between 2007 and 2009 of the government of President Daniel Ortega, from whom he distanced himself, and for more than two decades he has been a professor at the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE).
For his part, Aguirre Sacasa, the second oldest opposition leader in prison (the first is former ambassador Edgar Parrales, 79), was foreign minister during the Arnoldo Alemán administration (1997-2002), as well as Nicaraguan ambassador to USA and deputy for the PLC between 2002 and 2011.
His son, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, said that his relatives have seen how the detention of the former foreign minister “has affected his health” and asked the authorities, due to his age and physical condition, to “commute his sentence while served in prison and allow him to return to his family, his wife, his children and his little grandchildren.”
In the case of jurist José Pallais, a member of the opposition National Coalition, his relatives estimate that he has lost nearly 90 pounds since he has been in jail. The Leonese lawyer suffers from various chronic diseases: heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and spinal problems. According to the National Coalition, all of this “makes up a picture of very high risk.”
Pallais Arana is former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua and of the Interior, during the Government of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997). From 2007 to 2012 he was a deputy for the León department of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) and held the presidency of the Justice Commission in the National Assembly. He studied law at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-León) and has a doctorate from the Complutense University of Madrid.
In June 2020, he resigned from the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy (ACJD), due to the doubts expressed by that opposition organization about the signing of the Statutes of the National Coalition. A text that the liberal politician helped write. At that time he lamented the division of the opposition.
Twenty-seven countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a statement on Friday in which they say they are “dismayed” by the death of Hugo Torres, and demanded the “immediate” release of all political prisoners.
Mairena and Mena sentenced to 13 and 10 years in prison
The leaders of the Peasant Movement, Medardo Mairena and Pedro Mena, were sentenced by the Ortega justice to 13 and 10 years in prison, respectively, and disqualification from holding public office. In the case of Mairena for being the alleged perpetrator of the crime of “undermining national integrity” and Mena for the crime of “conspiracy to commit undermining national integrity.”
The family of Mairena, who aspired to be a presidential candidate, rejected in a public letter the sentence of Judge Ángel Jeancarlos Fernández González, of the fourth court of the Criminal District of Judgments and pointed out that the accusation of the Prosecutor’s Office is “false and insulting”.
“The family of all political prisoners is experiencing a viacrucis today, we feel helplessness, loneliness, silence and the abandonment of friends… Nicaragua continues to be a crucified people,” says the letter released this morning through social networks.
Finally, Mairena’s family urged the international community and the various human rights organizations to “make use of their powers and good offices to mediate before the State of Nicaragua and demand the immediate and unconditional release of our political prisoners.”
Around 5:30 pm, the Sandinista prosecutor’s office sentenced our peasant leader @MedardoMairena to 13 years in prison for “undermining national integrity” and Pedro Mena to 10 years in prison for “conspiracy to undermine national integrity.” pic.twitter.com/JeaNN7tc5O
— Peasant Movement of Nicaragua (@de_campesino) February 18, 2022
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), Eber Acevedo, who defends the peasants, said that Mena “was sentenced for being part of the Peasant Movement”, because in the trial, he valued, “there was no evidence” that incriminated him.
According to the lawyer, an undercover officer testified at the trial that Mena received funds from an NGO, but when asked what was the name of the NGO? and When did he receive the funds?, the officer did not know how to answer.
Peraza sentenced to ten years in prison
political scientist José Antonio Peraza was also sentenced this Thursday to ten years in prison for being the alleged perpetrator of the crime of conspiracy to undermine national integrity to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua and society, his family reported.
Peraza, a specialist in political and electoral systems, and a member of the Political Council of the opposition movement Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco (UNAB), was also disqualified from holding public office by Judge Ángel Jeancarlos Fernández González, of the fourth criminal district court of Managua. , the family member told reporters.
Peraza, who has been detained since July of last year, was director of the Movement for Nicaragua and was detained in October 2018, when together with a group of opponents he intended to protest in Managua against the Daniel Ortega regime in the context of the socio-political crisis. who has lived in the country for 46 months.
In addition, he is co-author of the books “The Ortega regime. A new family dictatorship on the continent?”, published in 2016, and “Nicaragua, the blue and white change”.
Peraza was arrested during a wave of arrests of opposition leaders and critics of Sandinismo, in the framework of the general elections last November, in which Ortega was re-elected without political competition.
The damned this week
This week the political prisoners were also sentenced by the Ortega justice: Mauricio Díaz, former diplomat and national director of the Citizens for Freedom (CxL) party; Luis Rivas, executive president of Banpro and regional CEO of Grupo Promerica; and Maria Oviedo, lawyer and human rights defender.
The conviction of the political prisoners was also read: Suyen Barahona, president of the Unión Democrática Renovadora (Unamos, formerly MRS), sentenced to eight years in prison; miguel mendoza, sportswriter and blogger, sentenced to nine years in prison; and the opposition Nidia Barbosa, member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy (ACJD), sentenced to eleven years in prison. All of them —in addition— are disqualified from holding public office.
The political prisoners were sentenced for alleged conspiracy to undermine” society and the State of Nicaragua based on the “Sovereignty Law”. Barbosa was also sentenced, at the hands of Ortega judge William Howard López, in charge of the Masaya Criminal District Court, for allegedly “spreading false news”, under the “Special Cybercrime Law”.