The Nicaraguan Parliament, with a Sandinista majority, suspended recess to approve as a matter of urgency on Monday a law that, among other things, punishes terrorism with up to 20 years in prison anyone who kills or injures a person who does not participate in an armed conflict, or causing damage to public or private goods or pretends to as indicated by the law “alter the constitutional order” or force a government to perform an act or abstain from doing so.
The law, which was approved during an extraordinary session with 70 votes in favor, was proposed by President Daniel Ortega to the Legislature and was approved in the midst of the sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua, caused by protests against the Government, and that it describes as terrorist acts.
The Nicaraguan Parliament also approved the law against money laundering (Ley contra el Lavado de Activos), the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Regarding the financing of terrorism, Article 395 establishes a penalty of between 15 and 20 years in prison for any who deposits, channels, transfers, secures, administers, protects, intermediates, lends, provides or delivers assets, whether from lawful or unlawful sources, with the intention that they are used knowingly that they will be used to commit “terrorist acts”.
The approved law aalso protects “internationally protected persons” and will punish with sentences of between 15 and 20 years in prison anyone who causes the death, abduction or infringement of the physical integrity or freedom of a head of State, representative or official of State.
In addition, will be sanctioned those who finance trips of people to a State other than their places of residence or nationality “for the purpose of committing, planning or preparing terrorist acts or participating in them.” .
Also, to those who finance the radicalization or recruitment of people to carry out acts of terrorism or integrate terrorist organizations; as well as those who provide or receive training for terrorism purposes.
According to the text of the law by President Daniel Ortega, it aims to protect the national economy and the integrity of the financial system from the risks associated with money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
In this regard, it is intended to establish mechanisms based on a risk approach to promote and strengthen the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of these crimes.
The law provides for “reducing the economic and operational capacity of national and transnational criminal organizations.”
The parliamentary opposition argued that this norm is intended to criminalize the protests.
Opposition legislator Jimmy Blandón warned that this law seeks to regulate, supervise and control the non-profit organizations, especially religious, and the movements that are participating in the citizens’ marches, within the framework of the current crisis that Nicaragua is going through.
Maximino Rodríguez, opposition legislator of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party (PLC), said that this new legal tool could be used as a sword against Ortega’s political opponents or against the people who oppose the government.