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Ortega government toughens persecution against young people in Nicaragua

Authorities "arbitrarily" arrested hundreds of people in a continuing crackdown on a wave of opposition. Detainees face up to 20 years in prison for "terrorism".

After more than three months of civic resistance of the population, the Government of Daniel Ortega has intensified the persecution, which is translated in arbitrary detentions, kidnappings and forced exile that forces thousands to go underground.

Police have killed, beaten and captured demonstrators protesting against the government. La Prensa / Jader Flores

On Monday, authorities “arbitrarily” arrested hundreds of people in a continuing crackdown on a wave of opposition, many detained on suspicion of taking part in marches against Ortega’s government, or providing aid to those agitating against the president, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights said.

And once they are processed in an agile manner, they are sent to the courts, where the justice operators accuse them of terrorism.

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This in the words of Ortega’s wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, is to recover peace and the right to move (freely).

Although human rights organizations do not have specific information on the extent of this situation caused by government persecution, the complaints are constant through social networks and give an idea of what Nicaraguan families live.

Álvaro Leiva Sánchez, executive secretary of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH), said that “in less than 24 hours we have more than 750 people kidnapped (…) there are entire families (who) are kidnapped right now”.

This is a situation “of profound violation of human rights, of freedom of expression, of the freedom to protest, of the freedom of all fundamental rights that the citizen has and that this is the product of a reprisal that should not be happening by the State of Nicaragua,” said Leiva.

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“We are talking about migration, we are talking about a persecution, a hunt for the citizen,” said Leiva Sánchez.

For his part, the legal advisor of the Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH), Pablo Cuevas, warned that with this arbitrary action “the Government is forcing citizens to take actions that are not pleasant for anyone, they are not pleasant for the peace”.

And he recalled that this was what was experienced during the Somoza dictatorship and then with Daniel Ortega himself during the eighties, when many were forced to adopt “extreme options” and go underground.

It is, therefore, that Cuevas considered that “the Government is putting out the fire with gasoline, believes that it is going to extinguish these flares of protest, the Government is betting to extinguish them through repression, that will not happen”.

Silvio Baez, Managua’s bishop, said: “We implore, in the name of God, that this hunting of young people cease… It is not possible to criminalize people for protesting and to treat them like terrorists.”

Under a new law passed in the legislature only last week and implemented almost immediately, those detained could risk prosecution of 15 to 20 years in prison.

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