Nicaragua Files Weapons Charges Against Opposition Activists

MANAGUA – Sixteen Nicaraguan opposition activists, together with 13 social leaders who had been arrested as they tried to ship water to starvation strikers protesting the incarceration of relations they are saying are political prisoners, had been charged Monday with allegedly transporting weapons.

The fees, which carry a minimal sentence of 5 years in jail, are based mostly on a police report saying authorities confiscated handguns, a shotgun and gasoline bombs.

Police offered the detainees earlier than authorities media, handcuffed, carrying jail uniforms and guarded by masked officers. They smiled however didn’t converse in video pictures launched by authorities.

Police additionally confirmed the weapons allegedly seized from these arrested.

Family, opposition leaders and journalists massed exterior the court docket however weren’t allowed in to witness the proceedings.

The Group of American States has expressed “concern and condemnation” of the arrests.

Amongst these arrested is Amaya Coppens, a Nicaraguan-Belgian twin citizen who was imprisoned for almost a yr for collaborating in protests final yr towards the federal government of President Daniel Ortega.

Protection lawyer Maria Oviedo stated the decide on the case is identical one who discovered Coppens and quite a few different protesters responsible of “terrorism” final yr.

The 13 had been detained Thursday in Masaya once they tried to achieve the 11 ladies on starvation strike on the San Miguel church, the place energy and water had been minimize off and which stays surrounded by police.

The ladies are moms, wives and sisters of jailed authorities opponents and the protest goals to push for his or her launch.

In a press release, police argued the arrested activists had supposed to “continue carrying out terrorist acts … against police buildings, city halls and monuments to heroes and martyrs” of Ortega’s Sandinista motion.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro, chief of the opposition Civic Alliance, condemned the arrests and prosecutions, saying the federal government “makes up crimes and plants evidence” to incriminate its opponents.

His niece Margarita Hurtado is among the many accused.

Additionally Monday, one other group of seven members of the family of imprisoned authorities opponents started a starvation strike of their very own on the cathedral in Managua, the capital, stated Jose Luis Borge, a physician who was accompanying the protesters and who was fired by the Well being Ministry final yr after he handled wounded scholar protesters. Police moved to encompass the cathedral as properly.

Opposition leaders say greater than 138 protesters are behind bars for causes they contemplate political, although about 700 had been launched earlier this yr and Ortega’s authorities has denied holding any prisoners of conscience.

The demonstrations that erupted in April 2018 demanded Ortega go away workplace and permit early elections, accusing him of authoritarian rule and consolidating energy in his particular person and his household.

At the very least 328 folks died in a crackdown by safety forces and armed pro-government militias, in keeping with the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights. Some 2,000 had been wounded, and tens of hundreds fled to exile.

Authorities officers have repeatedly referred to as protesters coup plotters and terrorists, and Ortega has vowed to serve out his time period.

The federal government has not commented on the fees towards the activists or the starvation strikes, however first girl Rosario Murillo, who can also be vp, stated in noon remarks that “the peace cannot be messed with.”

“We are consolidating a culture of dignity, respect, nonviolence, solidarity, reconciliation and peace,” Murillo stated.


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