UN denounces 63 “arbitrary detentions” in the last month in Nicaragua

UN denounces 63 "arbitrary detentions" in the last month in Nicaragua

MEXICO CITY (AP) — At least 63 people were arrested in an “arbitrary way” in Nicaragua during the month of May by the government of Daniel Ortega -and of them 55 in a single night-, denounced on Friday the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which called the authorities to “stop the repression” against dissent.

Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the organization, said that the Nicaraguan government uses the judiciary to persecute and “silence its critics” through accusations for the alleged crimes of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity” and “dissemination of false news.”

Hurtado highlighted that in a single night, that of May 3, 55 people were arrested in different parts of Nicaragua and accused of these crimes. Among them were “human rights defenders, political opponents, journalists, rural workers and people linked to the Catholic Church,” he said.

“During their custody hearings, none of the 55 defendants had a lawyer of their choice and instead they were represented by a public defender who was imposed on them,” the informant denounced.

The spokeswoman also questioned the disqualification, also in May, of 26 Nicaraguan lawyers whose titles were suspended by the government for considering them critical. She also criticized the measures taken against people linked to the Catholic Church.

In this regard, he referred to the detained bishop of Matagalpa (north), Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, who is being held in a Managua prison where “he has no natural light and is not allowed to go outside, conditions that violate international human rights standards ”.

Hurtado said that Ortega accuses the Catholic Church of supporting “what he calls terrorism and destabilization” and assured that in recent days the bank accounts of at least three of the nine dioceses have been frozen, which are being investigated for alleged money laundering. of money.

The spokeswoman for the High Commissioner urged the Ortega government to stop the persecution of dissent and free imprisoned opponents. According to opposition sources, there are now 47 detainees in the country considered political prisoners.

He recalled that the government has also closed more than 3,200 non-profit organizations since June 2022 and which independent media outlets “have also been forced to close”.

“We call on the authorities to stop the repression of dissent, immediately release all those arbitrarily detained, and restore the legal status of all organizations and media outlets that have been arbitrarily closed since 2018,” he said.

Hurtado asked the Managua government to accept the path of dialogue to resolve “the current crisis” and said that the Office of the UN High Commissioner “is ready and available to help Nicaragua promote human rights” in the country.

“Giving access to our staff would be an important step towards better cooperation with the UN system,” he added.

Meanwhile in Managua, the Parliament dominated by the ruling party approved on Friday the creation of the “White Cross”, an entity that will replace the Nicaraguan Red Cross, closed by the government on May 10.

According to the new Sandinista law, the “White Cross” will be attached to the Ministry of Health and will operate with “financial resources, personal property and real estate, registered or not, that belonged to the extinct Nicaraguan Red Cross Association” and that were confiscated. after its closure, as well as with state resources and donations.

Nicaragua is experiencing a serious political crisis for more than five years, when a civic rebellion that broke out in April 2018 was violently repressed by the police and paramilitary forces, leaving 355 civilians dead, more than 2,000 injured and at least 100,000 exiled, according to humanitarian organizations.

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