The Nicaraguan human rights group, the Asociación Nicaragüense Pro Derechos Humanos (Anpdh), that has been keeping the outside world abreast of the government’s deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters says it has been forced to close its offices.
The Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights says it has gotten threats and harassment from armed paramilitary groups, who have committed different violent acts in the crisis that has gripped the country for more than 3 months.
Anpdh officials added that they had received “threatening phone calls” and “alarming information” that authorities were planning to fabricate criminal charges against staff members.
Activist Álvaro Leiva, who is also the Anpdh General Secretary said the decision to close its offices is a preventive measure, “in order to guarantee the physical integrity and safety of our defenders”. They will continue their work receiving complaints online and by telephone.
Confirming that the organization did move, the executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Paulo Abrão, posted on his Twitter account that he had a “coincidental encounter at the airport in Honduras with Álvaro Leiva and his ANPDH team in transit to Costa Rica.”
Coincidente encuentro en aeropuerto de Honduras. Álvaro Leiva y equipo ANPDH en tránsito para Costa Rica. Confieso que nunca he imaginado presenciar un autoexilio en su exacto instante. Llorando, ellos decían que apesar del custo, ha valido la pena defender los DDHH en #Nicaragua pic.twitter.com/HzLQ2JLUMD
— Paulo Abrāo (@PauloAbrao) August 6, 2018
The association has said the violence in Nicaragua has led to 448 people being killed since April and blames the Ortega government and its armed civilian supporters for most of the deaths.
President Daniel Ortega has called the anti-government protesters terrorists who are plotting a coup led by U.S. interests in Miami (Florida) and Costa Rica to topple him.
Ortega has resisted the demands of protesters and the Civil Alliance for early elections.