Captain “Leonardo” has had to testify about events he did not witness in ten political trials, in which they condemned as “terrorists” citizens who participated in the protests against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
In his twenty years of police career, Captain “Leonardo” had never been “forced to lie,” to “say what is not true.” The captain is the Chief of Departmental Investigation in an area of the country that he asked us not to identify -as well as his name- for security reasons. However, the officer provided Confidencial with his ID card, his police chip number, and the judicial summonses issued by criminal judges, through which he was called to testify as a witness about facts he did not know.
Captain “Leonardo” is not exiled like other officers who have dared to denounce the repressive operation of the Police against citizens since April of 2018. He is an active policeman and in the coming weeks has scheduled four more trials to testify in about facts that are “fabricated at El Chipote,” the main interrogation jail in Managua.
The testimony of Captain “Leonardo” confirms what has been denounced by human rights organizations and the relatives of political prisoners: that the criminal acts attributed to demonstrators are false, and, therefore, the fabricated allegations of the prosecutors have no legal basis.
It all starts when a protester is captured and taken to El Chipote, in Managua. If the police decide to prosecute the case, the chiefs of investigation of El Chipote (the Judicial Assistance Directorate) “assembles” a case file.
“The investigators in El Chipote look for photos of the detainee on WhatsApp or Facebook, cut them out and put them on a clip board for recognition of the file,” stated Captain “Leonardo.” “When they have the file finished, they grab two names of policemen or investigators from the place the prisoners are from to make it appear that we put the case together.”
With the file already fabricated in El Chipote, a copy is sent to the police stations of the locality of origin of the detainees. There, the departmental chief of the Police, “together with two prosecutors” call the officers designated to serve as witnesses. According to Captain “Leonardo”, they are shown the file with the photos of the inmates so that they can identify them in the trial hearings.
“The Chief of Police and two prosecutors, because the Prosecutor’s Office is involved, tell us what to say at the trials…and we cannot refuse. Everything is planned when we meet beforehand,” describes Captain “Leonardo.”
In the political trials, such as that of the peasant leader Medardo Mairena, the prosecution presented as witnesses hooded policemen whose testimony were contradictory. In addition, the Public Ministry added the Sandinista Mayor and City Council persons from Morrito as witnesses. This follows the typical pattern used, said Captain “Leonardo.”
“In the trials to which I have been summoned, they always add two municipal workers as witnesses. These are chosen by the party’s departmental political secretary. It doesn’t matter that those people were not at the events they testify about, like my case. They narrate the same story,” explained Captain “Leonardo.”
The policeman emphasized that it is not possible to refuse to serve as a witness. Much less to leave the libretto dictated from El Chipote at the hearings. According to Captain “Leonardo,” plainclothes police officers arrive to make sure that witnesses attend and say what they were ordered. “If you said something that you should not say, the Chief of El Chipote calls you in,” the officer insisted.