Two brothers of political prisoner Amaya Coppens Zamora were assaulted by a group of armed Ortega supporters in the department of Chinandega. The event occurred when Diego Luis Coppens Zamora, 28, and Santiago Amaru Coppens Zamora, 16, were visiting their grandparents for Xmas Eve, but it wasn’t until the aggressors posted some photographs of their victims that the occurrence became public.
Tamara Zamora, mother of the victimized young men, explained to the media that Diego and Santiago, together with other relatives, were pasting stickers around the city park as part of their demand for a “Christmas without political prisoners”. Around 6 pm, when they were setting out to return to the home of their grandparents, they were intercepted by a group of Ortega fanatics in the street called La Sanidad. The armed subjects surrounded them and attacked them.
“They hit us and pointed their guns at us,” one of the victims declared to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), an organization that recognized and condemned the aggression. The youth were forced to the ground and also threatened with death: “If you run, we’re going to hit you with three lead charges”; and “I’m going to call my sister to come and work you over”, were some of the threats they reported.
Those attacked noted in their denunciation to the human rights center: “There were people that wanted to help us … a taxi driver wanted to help, but the others were armed and they told everyone to go away, and not to say anything or they’d shoot at them. They fired shots into the air.”
After the beating, the paramilitary took the young men to the Chinandega police station. “Here, we’ve brought them,” they told the officials on duty. The victims of the assault then spent four hours in the police station before finally being taken to their grandparents’ home around eleven at night.
The assault victims stated that the Police ordered them to tell their family members that they [the police] hadn’t beaten them, and that they’d taken them to some paramedics to give them first aid, since the assault had left them with stitches, black and blue marks and sharp pains in a number of places on their bodies.
The impunity deepens
To those at Cenidh, the assault experienced by the brothers of political prisoner Amaya Coppens is evidence that “in Nicaragua there’s been a deepening of impunity and an escalation of the repression.” “The mobs and paramilitary groups act with the acquiescence of the Police, in fact, it’s evident that they operate together,” a communique from the organization states.
In the same way, the human rights advocates warned that this was a “selective aggression”, since the police, paramilitary and the mobs knew that the attacked were Amaya Coppen’s brothers, and that she’s an admired symbol of resistance at an international level.
“We observe that with this type of aggression, the regime wants to frighten those who oppose it. These occurrences give a message that “they, and only they, have the power”. In addition, this is a new repressive strategy whereby the Police can then ‘wash their hands’ of the crimes committed daily,” the Cenidh statement concludes.
Amaya target of brutal treatment
On Thursday, December 26, family members of the 16 political prisoners being held in the New Chipote jail, among them Amaya Coppens, reported that they’re being held in cells lit 24 hour a day, without access to personal hygiene or sheets, with music allusive to Ortega being played loudly, and under constant threats and manhandling.
Coppens, who had already been a prisoner for nine months between 2018 and 2019 for participating in anti-government protests, was locked up once again in November, like the others, for attempting to bring water to a group of women on a hunger strike.
The case of the student has been discussed in the European Parliament which recently approved a series of actions aimed at convincing Ortega to reestablish the constitutional order in Nicaragua.
The Cenidh demanded an immediate investigation of the case of the Coppens brothers, and criminal sanctions for those responsible, as well as an “end to the repression, the disarming of the paramilitary forces, and respect for the physical and psychological integrity of all Nicaraguans.”