Managua. More than two hundred political prisoners in Nicaragua were freed and transferred to the United States on Thursday, including leading critics of President Daniel Ortega, in what Washington said was a “constructive step” to address abuses human rights in the Central American country.
A court in Managua confirmed the release of 222 combatants in prison. The news had been announced shortly before by exiled relatives and opponents, who indicated that among them were former Sandinista commander Dora María Téllez, former presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro or Juan Lorenzo Holmann, but not Bishop Rolando Álvarez or other priests. However, Ortega himself said this afternoon that the bishop “was in line (to board the plane) and starts to say that he is not leaving,” he was sent back to prison in Managua.
Hundreds of opponents have been detained in the context of the crackdown that followed protests that began in 2018 against Ortega, who was re-elected in disputed elections.
“The deportees were declared traitors to the homeland and punished for various serious crimes and were permanently disqualified from exercising public office (…), as well as from exercising popular positions, while their rights as citizens permanently suspended,” he said. .
On the other hand, “traitors to the homeland lose the Nicaraguan national standard,” according to Law 1145 approved by Parliament, controlled by supporters of President Daniel Ortega, which amended Article 21 of the Constitution.
Arturo McFields, Ortega’s former ambassador to the OAS who was fired after describing his country as a dictatorship and now lives in the United States, said that “these people are being exiled by the Nicaraguan dictatorship. “
“In a democratic country, a political prisoner is released, he returns home, takes his family, and the State guarantees his safety. In Nicaragua, if someone is released, they do not have those basic guarantees: the right to life, to move freely ., to be able to demonstrate and continue to be a citizen, that’s why they have to leave the country”.
open a door
US diplomatic chief Antony Blinken praised the release.
“The release of these people (…) is a constructive step to address human rights abuses in the country, and opens the door for further dialogue between the United States and Nicaragua on issues of concern,” said Blinken in a statement.