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Ortega-Murillo regime threatens opponents with life sentences

Today's news report: a proposal for electoral reforms, several political prisoners have been captured, and new threats of life sentences in Nicaragua

These are the news that you need to know today, September 21st | The Ortega regime has threatened to include the sentence of life imprisonment in the Penal Code, to punish alleged hate crimes committed by opponents. The regime’s excuse for bringing back life imprisonment in Nicaragua has been the murder of two girls in Mulukukú.

Vice President Rosario Murillo ordered the collection of signatures among state institutions and Sandinista bases in support of life imprisonment.

“It is a dirty trick for the dictatorship to be using the pain of Nicaraguan families to appropriate an agenda, of which they, in fact, are accomplices, or rather co-participants in crimes against humanity in Nicaragua. I don’t believe in life imprisonment for different criminological reasons, but I want to say that if there were life imprisonment, the main candidate for life imprisonment would be Daniel Ortega,” said Félix Maradiaga, member of the “Blue and White National Unity”.

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2. National Coalition proposes electoral reforms

The National Coalition agreed on a proposal for electoral and constitutional reforms, prepared by the Electoral Reform Promoter Group, ahead of the presidential elections of 2021.

The document reflects the need to establish non-reelection in the political constitution, as well as the prohibition of the candidacy of the spouse of the person who holds the presidency.

In electoral matters, the proposal advocates for the elimination of bipartisanship in the Supreme Electoral Council. It also aims to restore the second round of elections if no candidate obtains 50% of the votes, and establishes the right of electoral alliances to have their own polling place.

The document will be presented to the public this Tuesday, September 22, so that it can then be sent to the Organization of the American States and the European Union.

3. Canal 12 rejects illegal and arbitrary embargo

The building facade of Channel 12. Photo: Confidencial

Nicavisión, the company that owns Canal 12, rejected in court a tax embargo launched by the General Directorate of Revenues on behalf of the government.

The DGI filed a tax remedy for 21 million cordobas against Canal 12, at the same time that it seized the company’s assets, as well as those of Mariano Valle, the owner.

“I’m not a scoundrel or a thief, far from it. I am an honest person, the only thing that I have done in this country is to work for it and for my children. Do you want to confiscate me again? (…) I am going to continue defending myself and I am going to continue asking for justice, justice that assists me with reason and right”, declared Valle.

4. National Police captures and accuses former political prisoners… again

The Ortega regime continues to arrest ex-political prisoners, who were amnestied in 2019. Since July of last year, the dictatorship has recaptured 14 former prisoners of conscience.

The most recent one of them was Danny García González, from the city of Masaya, who the Public Ministry accuses without evidence, for the crimes of possession of explosive devices, carrying firearms, and drug trafficking.

5. Pompeo accuses Ortega of intensifying the repression

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, accused Daniel Ortega of redoubling the repression against the independent press and the opposition in Nicaragua.

Pompeo assured that Ortega has become the dictator he fought so long ago, referring to the dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle.

6. Latest Citizen Observatory’s report

The independent Citizen Observatory raised the number of suspected Covid-19 cases in Nicaragua to 10,258.

In its latest report, the Observatory records some 2,581 deaths linked to the pandemic.

Managua, Matagalpa, Leon, and Masaya are the departments that report the most suspected cases and the most deaths associated with Covid-19.

The Government only admits that in the six months of the pandemic, there have been 147 deaths from the novel coronavirus, and 4,961 confirmed infections.

7. Michele Bachelet: “the Nicaraguan health crisis requires more transparency”

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Photo EFE

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, said that the human rights crisis continues in Nicaragua and that it now also affects the government’s response to the pandemic.

Bachelet sustains that the health crisis requires more transparency and dissemination of information by the government, which has responded with violations of freedom of expression and by firing medical personnel.

The former executive secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrao, warned that his departure from the commission, attributed to the veto of the secretary-general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, will mark a serious precedent for the autonomy of the IACHR, for which he called on the regional community of human rights to be alert and vigilant.

8. About 6,000 Nicaraguans lose their jobs at garment factories

Statistics from the International Trade Administration in the United States reveal that, between January and July of this year, Nicaraguan garment factories received 84 million dollars less compared to the same period in 2019.

The situation has caused at least 6,000 workers in the free trade zones to be unemployed.

9. Fitch Ratings reduces the reputational risk of the BDF

The entrance of the Grupo ASSA building in Managua. Photo: Confidencial

Fitch Rating, an international risk rating agency, indicated that the sale of Nicaraguan Army shares in Banco de Finanzas will reduce the entity’s reputational risk.

In an analysis of the transaction, Fitch considers that the repurchase of shares by Grupo ASSA could be viewed positively by external investors and correspondent banks.

10. Sixth arrest warrant is issued against Mauricio Funes

A Salvadoran criminal court ordered the capture of ex-president Mauricio Funes, who received Nicaraguan nationality, which has prevented him from being extradited to El Salvador.

Funes already has six arrest warrants in different processes on charges of embezzlement, bribery, money laundering, and tax evasion.

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This article has been translated by Ana Maria Sampson, a Communication Science student at the University of Amsterdam and member of our staff*

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