A key agreement in the recent negotiation is the release of all political prisoners by June 18, 2019. One of the reasons why the Civic Alliance called for a National Strike was their concern about the lack of willingness on the part of the government to comply with this and other agreements. The Government issued a press release yesterday reaffirming their willingness to release the political prisoners by June 18th. But the number of political prisoners is under dispute, and since the agreement was reached, more protestors have been abducted and jailed. This article shows the complexity of this one issue.
Ortega Regime manipulates figures of political prisoners in order to not free all of them
Regime says that there are only 132 people left from the reconciled lists, but the Civic Alliance states that there are approximately 336 people still jailed for their participation in the protests against the regime.
By Lucia Navas and Lidia López B, May 22, 2019, La Prensa
The regime of Daniel Ortega has offered manipulated figures of political prisoners as a strategy to not free all of them, denounced relatives and lawyers of the detained protestors, as well as delegates of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.
The dictatorship has released 336 political prisoners at five moments, and assures that they only need to release from jail 132 people who remain illegally detained for having participated in the protests against the dictatorship of Ortega and Rosario Murillo since April 18, 2018.
According to the figures of Ortega followers, they only recognize 468 total Nicaraguans detained for their participation in the protests.
This May 22 in a press release the dictatorship said that it will grant freedom to the protestors by June 18th at the latest, by the deadline established in the agreement signed with the Civic Alliance. But these liberations will only be of the protestors already reconciled on the list of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR).
The Civic Alliance presented an original list with 764 political prisoners at the Negotiating Table with the dictatorship, which has increased due to the fact that in recent weeks abductions of citizens opposed to the regime have continued, who are also considered political prisoners because their detentions have been because of their support for the protests.
The Civic Alliance records 42 people who have been detained since January 2019 and have not been freed, who are not on the lists reconciled with the regime.
“So far there are approximately 336 people jailed in the different penitentiary centers, police delegations and other detention centers”, for their participation in the protests against the regime, who the opposition demands be freed, according to the opposition and lawyers of those detained.
They are not complying even with those on the reconciled list
Álvaro Vargas, from the Civic Alliance, explained to La Prensa that in the work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR), 237 self convened were reconciled of the lists presented by the opposition and the dictatorship. Of that reconciled list with the CICR, Vargas said that 196 people still need to be released, in other words, 64 more than those that the regime says are left.
This does not mean that they are the only political prisoners in the jails, due to the fact that Vargas, Carlos Tunnermann (also from the Civic Alliance) and the lawyer Yonarqui Martínez, defense counsel of the self convened, said yesterday that the demand is that they must be freed from all charges, those people on the reconciled lists as well as those that the regime accuses of common crimes, but whom it has been demonstrated that they were detained for participating in the protests, as well as those who have arrest orders out but are in exile or safe houses.
42 abducted in recent weeks
Vargas and Martínez explained that the regime continues abducting citizens who relate to the protests, so far taking 42 people who are confirmed in jails. These citizens are considered to be political prisoners.
Vargas said that they are updating the lists that they will present to the CICR and the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), so that they can help to review and reconcile the names along with the Ortega regime.
“We have documented that the reason for the arrest is for protesting, in other words, for political issues”, stated Vargas.
Tunnermann rejected the manipulation of the Ortega followers who in their press releases state that once the 132 political prisoners from the reconciled list are freed, they will have complied with the agreement from the Negotiating Table.
“That is not the agreement, because there are dozens more prisoners who are not reconciled because the Alliance records dozens of more prisoners than the Government wants to recognize, but they should leave also by June 18th at the latest”, stated the jurist.
Tunnermann also complained that the dictatorship of Ortega and Murillo are not fulfilling the commitment to the Organization of American States (OAS) that they will be liberated, not just released, all the people kidnapped in jail for their participation in the protests since April 18, 2018, in accordance with the list of the IACHR, which the jurist recalled coincided with those presented by the Civic Alliance.