Nicaraguan-American Political Prisoner Killed by Police In La Modelo Prison

A Nicaraguan-American man arrested in May last year for taking part in protests against President Daniel Ortega’s government was killed Thursday in a shooting at the La Modelo prison near Managua where he was being held.

In this Oct. 17, 2018 photo, provided by the Nicaraguan National Police, prisoners detained and imprisoned during the recent uprisings against the government of President Daniel Ortega, are shown to the press in Managua, Nicaragua. At left is Eddy Antonio Montes Praslin, who was killed on Thursday, May 16, 2019, by a bullet in La Modelo prison north of Managua amid disturbances, Nicaragua’s interior ministry said. (Nicaraguan National)

Nicaragua’s interior ministry said the incident in the prison began in the early afternoon when a group of prisoners caused “a serious disturbance to the public order.”

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Eddy Antonio Montes Praslin, 57,  died after being rushed to a hospital, according to the ministry statement.

Montes Praslin was known in prison as “the pastor”.

But relatives of the prisoners blame police, saying several patrols of riot troops entered the prison and gunshots were heard. Soon after ambulances arrived.

The photo shows officials of La Modelo, on Thursday night, reporting that the situation in the interior had normalized and there were no serious injuries.

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However, authorities said Montes Praslin and other inmates jumped prison staff and tried to take a weapon away from a guard.

Montes is originally from Matagalpa and a U.S. citizen.

The U.S. embassy in Nicaragua condemned the use of lethal force against Montes, calling him a political prisoner in a post on social media. It demanded that the circumstances of the incident be fully investigated.

José Pallais, lawyer and member of the Alianza Civica (Civic Alliance) said that the only responsible for the death of Montes is the Government of Nicaragua because he was under their guardianship and authorities should never have fired on unarmed prisoners.

“There are many methods to control a possible mutiny in the jail, but not with the use of weapons, that is disproportionate,” said Pallais, as he showed his solidarity with the wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of the political prisoners who were keeping vigil outside the prison last night.

Inside the La Modelo prison. Archive photo

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“Repression by the government has caused the death of Eddy Montes Praslin this afternoon in attacks on political prisoners within the system,” said Pallais on Twitter.

According to the statement to the press from the Ministry of the Interior, the incident took place at around 3:00 pm, when supposedly “a group of prisoners rushed against prison personnel from the security perimeter, struggling with one of the guards with clear intentions. to take the regulation weapon and attempt against the life of the officials, who in self-defense took a single shot despite carrying an automatic rifle.”

However, contrary to that version, relatives who were visiting at the time expressed that they first heard the alarm and then saw the black-clad police run to galeria 16-1 and then they heard some ten gunshots.

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