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Relatives of Ortega’s Political Prisoners Denounce Silence

They reject that the demand to release political prisoners was not included in the OAS resolution on Nicaragua

Relatives of Nicaraguan political prisoners reject what they consider the state of inertia of the population in regard to the torture and cruel treatment that the political prisoners of the Ortega-Murillo regime continue to suffer. Organized in a working group, they pointed out that a “silent diplomacy” exists, both inside and outside the country.

Their statement was read concurrently with the 50th Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), in which a resolution on Nicaragua was approved. However, it focused mainly on the scheduled 2021 elections. The relatives of the inmates felt their demand for freedom for their family members was put in the background.

“In the XXI Century, the world grants legitimacy to a Government of death, pain and violence, such as the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship. The eyes of the international community are closed in honor of diplomacy,” pointed out the group in an “urgent statement.”

In Nicaragua “there cannot be elections if political prisoners are not free. Likewise, if they undergo torture and do not have access to health care. Let them not forget that Nicaragua has suffered too much from dictatorships,” said activist Carlos Gutierrez. He is a relative of two men considered “political prisoners” since 2014.

Former political prisoner, Amaya Coppens, also asked “the international community to take decisive actions. Ones that are at the level of what is experienced here (in Nicaragua).”

The members of the “Working Group for Political Prisoners, Freedom and Justice” also expressed their “deep disappointment” with opposition movements. They note a lack of “genuine support” for the “relatives of political prisoners.” The frustration of them not lobbying enough to include the prisoners immediate release in the OAS resolution.

Protest at the “La Modelo” prison

Hours before the OAS Assembly this week, the relatives of political prisoners picketed for the second day in a row in front of the entrance to the La Model prison. They demanded to be allowed to see their locked-up relatives. Their demand emerged after President Daniel Ortega spoke the day before at an event in Managua. He said the accusation of prisoners being tortured was “made up”. Furthermore, Ortega invited relatives to visit the prisons to confirm their health condition.

A group of women went to the prison twice carrying photographs of their relatives and the Nicaraguan flag. They were accompanied by human rights defender Yonarqui Martinez. The attorney demanded that the prison guards heed the president’s word and allow them to enter. However, for a second day in a row they were not allowed in.

Martinez explained that the people who accompanied her have an ID card authorized by the same Penitentiary System. She said they also carried their normal ID documents, but none of that was useful to be able to see their relatives. “This is tangible proof that it was only a speech. The mothers who wanted to see their children are here and they didn’t want to let us enter,” Martinez stressed.

The Permanent Commission on Human Rights also presented itself at the prison for the second day in a row. However, on this occasion, the team of lawyers were unable to reach the perimeter of “La Modelo”. A police checkpoint prevented them from passing.

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