Sixth Nicaraguan presidential candidate detained in ‘night of terror’ roundup

Four months before a crucial election, longtime President Daniel Ortega’s government has detained more than two dozen people, including six, since late May. presidential candidate. Opposition leaders, student leaders, businessmen and activists have also been targeted.

Those detained included presidential candidate Medardo Myrena Sequera and farming and labor leaders Freddy Navas López, Pablo Morales and Pedro Joaquín Mena Amador. According to a statement by the Nicaraguan National Police published early Tuesday, he is accused of being the mastermind in the 2018 murders of four policemen and the kidnapping of 12 police officers.

But the peasant movement said Twitter that the government had “kidnapped” its leaders, and dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous”.

“We applaud the ridiculous allegations made by Ortega police for banning our leaders accusing them of committing horrific crimes,” it said in a statement, calling for their immediate release and Called upon the community to condemn the detention.

Prior to his detention, Navas himself had uploaded a video indicating that he believed his detention would be politically motivated. “If you’re watching this video, it’s because they took me, because I’m already in jail, because I’ve been taken into custody. Either way, I’m ready,” he said.

Nicaraguan presidential challenger Cristiana Chamorro was placed under house arrest in early June.

Marena is the sixth presidential candidate to be detained in recent months. Miguel Mora Barberena was scored on 20 June; Christiana Chamorro has been under house arrest since June 2; Former diplomat Arturo Cruz was arrested on 5 June; And political scientist Felix Maradiaga and economist Juan Sebastian Chamorro were both arrested on June 8.

Student leader also detained

Also detained were student leaders of the anti-government Nicaraguan University Association (AUN), Lester Lenin Aleman Alfaro and Max Isaac Jerez, who were detained late Monday.

According to the police statement, the two students were charged with vandalizing two universities in Nicaragua when they allegedly “assaulted, kidnapped, grieved injuries, rape, extortion, extortion and destruction during a failed 2018 coup attempt”. Committed the offenses of robbery with extensive damage.

Speaking to reporters after her son’s arrest, Lesbia Alfaro Silva, the mother of Lester Aleman, said her son was innocent, and accused police of searching his home without producing a warrant.

“I asked them and they told me it was a raid but I told them by what order they had come to search my house? They took some things, I didn’t want to sign any documents,” she said. “My son is so innocent and we as mothers, we have to keep going and persevere.”

Lesbia Alfaro Silva (R) and Heidi Meza (C), the mothers of detained student leaders Lester Allemon and Max Jerez, say their sons are innocent.
Moments before his arrest, Max Jerez – President of AUN – tweeted Police were trying to break into his house and he had already posted a video calling on fellow citizens to “fight together” for freedom.

“If you’re watching this video, it’s because I’ve been detained by a dictatorship or without the means to communicate,” he said, adding: “It’s time to take action, put an end to dictatorial hope.” We must continue this fight together for the freedom of the Nicaraguan people, let us not fall into despair, in stabilization.”

Those arrested on Monday are well-known critics of Ortega’s regime. Speaking to CNN a few days before his arrest, Aleman said that the upcoming elections would launch peaceful and civilian protests in Nicaragua. “We have the power, the empowerment, the power to decide the future. We are the majority,” he said. “Ortega does not believe he will win the next election and has to fight against the opposition’s leadership and visible faces.”

Ortega’s government took strong action on opposition figures during figures Anti-government protests of 2018 At least 322 people were then killed, with thousands injured and hundreds in custody. At the time, UN human rights experts accused the government of human rights violations against the protesters. Ortega said the UN report was “nothing more than an instrument of a policy of death, a policy of terror, a policy of lies, a policy of slander.”

Many of the dozens detained since May have been charged with vague, so-called “national security” violations, which human rights groups say is a clear sign that Ortega is seeking to quell dissent ahead of the upcoming general elections. And trying its best to crush any competition. November 7, when he is expected to secure his fourth consecutive term as president.

Monday’s detainees are being investigated for alleged acts against the country’s national sovereignty and for inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, according to the national police, under the same 1055 law used in the recent arrests – “of the people”. Laws to protect the rights “to freedom, sovereignty and self-determination for peace.”

week long action has generated international condemnation. Mexico and Argentina last month recalled their ambassadors to Nicaragua for consultation, citing “concerning legal action by the Nicaraguan government”. The US government announced sanctions on four senior members of Ortega’s government, including his daughter, saying they were “involved in the suppression of the regime.”

Before his detention, Lester Alleman was still hopeful. “We are realistic that Nicaragua is in the midst of ruins as it attempts to rebuild it’s democratic system,” he told CNN. “We are running to win and we believe that to win is to win the presidency, and to win in the National Assembly to make a difference for the country.”

Kirinna Parsi contributed to this report.


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