Families of opponents imprisoned in Nicaragua denounce persistent ill-treatment

(Archive) Daniel Ortega, 75 years old, in power since 2007, seeks his fourth consecutive term without rivals who would jeopardize his re-election – PRESIDENCY OF NICARAGUA/AFP

Families of opponents imprisoned in Nicaragua accused of conspiring against the government of Daniel Ortega denounced on Thursday that constant “physical deterioration”, “mistreatment” and violation of the rights of detainees persists after they have been allowed to visit them.

“The physical deterioration continues. In most cases, they continue to lose weight and suffer from extreme weakness. They are pale, many do not have access to the sun, and others only once a week,” says a note read by three relatives who participated in a press conference.

Between June and August, 37 opponents, including seven presidential candidates in the November 7 elections, were arrested on charges of promoting foreign interference. The government considers the prisoners to be terrorists who organized to carry out a coup d’état with the help of the United States.

Family members were able to visit detainees for the second time between Monday and Wednesday, and stated that the conditions of isolation, in dark, unventilated cells, had not changed since they denounced them in early September, during the first visit.

International human rights bodies have called for the immediate release of opposition leaders, as well as the suspension of trials during which, according to the families, they were deprived of their right to defence.

According to a report by the Mechanism for Recognition of Political Prisoners, made up of family members and human rights organizations, there are 145 people detained for political reasons in Nicaragua, which the government does not recognize.

The serious political crisis in Nicaragua erupted with the anti-government protests of April 2018, whose repression left more than 300 dead, hundreds of prisoners and more than 100,000 exiles.

Daniel Ortega, 75 years old, in power since 2007, is seeking his fourth consecutive term without rivals that would jeopardize his re-election.


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