After 43 days since the last family visit, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo finally authorized the political prisoners —captured in the context of the 2021 general elections— to receive their relatives in groups at the Directorate of Judicial Assistance , known as El Chipote, where they have been detained for a year.
During the visits, which took place between June 10 and 12, the relatives of the prisoners of conscience verified the “harsh conditions” in which their relatives are, so they warn that the methods of torture and cruel treatment have become more acute, to the point that political prisoners are no longer taken to the infirmary but instead a doctor passes by to assess them in the cells.
The two-hour meetings were monitored at all times by police officers, who even prevented them from hugging each other to supposedly prevent the spread of diseases. The relatives of the inmates were also photographed and subjected to even more abusive searches than the previous ones, since the agents lifted some of their clothing and felt their genital areas during the searches.
César Dubois, husband of the political prisoner Suyen Barahona, described that she is still confined in an isolation cell and that, due to the humidity caused by the rains of recent months, she has developed fungus on her skin. Only she is being taken out for one or two hours a week in the sun, she has had medical tests done but they have not shown the results.
Although Suyen looks thinner, her husband does not dare to indicate how much weight she has lost in the year she is serving this June 13 in prison, since in prison “they no longer weigh her.” All prisoners of conscience “are no longer taken to the clinic (which was where they were weighed), now the doctors go directly to the cell to see them,” Dubois said.
Berta Valle, wife of the political prisoner and former presidential candidate, Félix Maradiaga, reported that he continues to lose weight due to the “terrible diet” he receives. The food is delivered to him in a state that “you can’t even eat it”, so “there have been days that he only makes food for a while and complements it —perhaps— with some other type of drink that his relatives have given him.” carried”.
After a year of incarceration, “(Félix) continues to be in a cell completely in darkness, he does not have access to sunlight, only every ten days for maybe ten or fifteen minutes,” Valle described. Conditions “have not changed, rather they have worsened.” This shows “an intention, on the part of the regime, to cause torture to these people,” he stressed.
“Our relatives are being killed”
The family of the political prisoner and former presidential candidate, Medardo Mairena Sequeira, also reported —through their social networks— that their relative “is kept in inhumane conditions”, confined to a punishment cell with little ventilation and with minimal access to the sunlight.
On this occasion “we found that our brother, on one of his knees, is drooling,” Medardo’s family described. In addition, “he continues to suffer from allergies in his body and with blood circulation problems,” the letter continues.
For Valle, the conditions in which the political prisoners are “put their lives at risk”, they urgently require medical attention and in Chipote they continue to be denied the right to health. So, that treatment they are receiving “is inhuman, cruel, ruthless and with a systematic regimen of torture,” he stressed.
“Sometimes one sounds exaggerated, but no, it is not an exaggeration, our relatives are being killed,” Valle warned. In addition, there is an enormous risk “that they end up as Hugo Torres unfortunately ended,” who died in police custody on February 12.
Dubois, for his part, warns that the lack of medical care and poor nutrition of prisoners of conscience represents “a critical situation”, which will have “physical and mental repercussions on the health of these people, our relatives who are detained.” unfairly”.
Regime tries to “damage future leadership”
For Ana Lucía Álvarez, sister of the political prisoner Tamara Dávila and niece of Ana Margarita Vijil, the reason why the Ortega-Murillo regime has been vicious against her relatives, and against all the political prisoners who are in Chipote, is because “They are leading people who, from different areas of society, have been supporting the resistance.”
In the case of Tamara and Ana Margarita, “in addition to being political leaders, they are human rights defenders, feminists with great empathy, with a lot of charisma, they are deeply supportive people whom people trust and who have convening leadership, articulating leadership that have They have been essential to build political projects, to build networks that in Nicaragua have been essential to sustain many things,” Álvarez stressed.
Álvarez, who is also a human rights defender, valued that the cruelty with which the regime is treating this group of political prisoners “is not only to disqualify them politically and socially in the present”, but that this policy of torture “is also to disable them politically in the future.” That is to say, Ortega and Murillo try to guarantee “the disqualification of generational relays” such as, for example, Tamara and Ana Margarita.
On the other hand, Álvarez reported that her relatives are “firm in spirit and strengthened in their convictions,” despite the fact that imprisonment “has been a hard, difficult and painful process” for them and the family. Physically, “Tamara is still as skinny as we mentioned the previous time and, in the case of Ana Margarita, we are worried because her cell is flooded with rain, it has leaks, and that is causing fungus on her skin,” accurate.
Meanwhile, Ramón Mendoza, brother of political prisoner Miguel Mendoza, expressed his concern about the health of the sports writer, who suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, uric acid problems, and back and neck pain. Added to that is a serious physical deterioration and the stress generated by the fact of being locked up.
“That thinness that (Miguel) has is not only because of poor nutrition but because of worry,” Mendoza warned. During this year that he has been imprisoned, they have denied him the right to see his daughter and he carries “great concern” for the state of health of his mother, who turns 91 this June 14. “Mother’s Day was a terrible day for Miguel,” said his brother.
The relatives of prisoners of conscience are also demanding that the authorities of the Directorate of Judicial Assistance receive packages with supplies for their relatives, as is the case in the National Penitentiary System, and that they provide them with minimum conditions.
“We are demanding that, if the Police do not have a budget to feed the inmates, they allow us the family’s parcels to be able to bring them food,” Mendoza said.