This past September 14, Nicaraguan police broke into the home of Andrea Margarita Del Carmen, director of programs for the PEN Center of Nicaragua, with the intention of taking her captive. Since they didn't find her, they took her son, Gabriel López Del Carmen, as a hostage. Since then he has been held captive in the El Chipote police jail.
Both are facing an accusation of supposed “conspiracy”. A local judge rejected the claims of innocence and illegal detention presented in their defense and scheduled the trial of Gabriel to begin next December 1. Andrea Margarita has not been indicted because she is not in Nicaragua, but the regime has issued an arrest warrant for her.
The executive director of PEN International, Romana Cacchioli, categorically rejected these accusations. “We demand that they withdraw all the charges and that Gabriel López del Carmen be immediately freed. PEN International urges the international community to condemn the arbitrary detentions and protest the systematic violation of human rights in Nicaragua.”
Human rights organizations have been denouncing the taking of hostages, part of a new pattern of repression by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. “In El Chipote they say that my son will only be set free if I give myself up.” Andrea Margarita said in an interview with the program Esta noche, which is directed by the journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro.
More than 30 organizations demanded the immediate liberation of Gabriel López del Carmen, son of the director of programs of PEN Nicaragua, Andrea Margarita del Carmen.
To read the position statement:
39 false antennas found to monitor cellphones in Nicaragua
Some 39 mobile surveying units capable of intercepting telephone communications were detected in Nicaragua, according to an analysis by the organization South Lighthouse, dedicated to investigating technologies in the service of human rights, and the Fake Antenna Detection Project study.
The study, published by the daily publication Confidential this past October 17, revealed the use of mobile surveying equipment, known as IMSI-Catchers or false telecommunication antennas, in Managua and three other cities in Nicaragua.
The false antennas or mobile electronic vigilance devices were detected in zones near the Augusto C. Sandino airport, the Chancellery of the republic, the staff office of the Nicaraguan army, residences that house embassies, and other points.
The IMSI-Catcher devices act as false antennas which intercept the telephone signals and capture the traffic of mobile devices, including conventional calls, the destination or origin of the calls, text messages, codes of SIM cards, location of telephones and in some cases, directly listen to telephone conversations, according to the study.
At least 160 journalists have fled Nicaragua in the last four years
At least 160 Nicaraguan journalists and media workers have gone into exile for reasons of security since April 2018, when the demonstrations broke out against the regime of Daniel Ortega according to a report disseminated last October 10 by the regional network Voces del Sur.
The list includes journalists and media workers announces who work in civil society projects which have been closed and spokespeople of organisms of human rights, Voces del Sur explained. Among them are editors of the daily paper la Prensa and of the digital media Artículo 66, Confidencial, Despacho 505 Divergentes, Expediente Público, 100% Noticias, Nicaragua Actual, Nicaragua Investiga, among others, as well as press correspondents of foreign press and international media.
Of the total, at least 121 journalists have gone into exile since May 2021 when a wave of arrests started in the context of the presidential elections of November 7 of last year, which took to jail at least 60 opposition leaders, students, workers, press and professional groups, including seven dissidents who were candidates for the presidency.
Podcast: The assault on freedom of the press intensifies in Latin America and farther
The National Press Club in Washington has published its most recent podcast about the situation of journalists in various regions, such as Asia and Latin America, where journalists are ever more harassed, jailed, and even assassinated for pursuing the truth wherever the story might take them. In this edition, the co-president of the Broadcast/Podcast team, Adam Konowe, interviewed Rachel Oswald, president of the human rights team of the National Press Club, and Dagmar Thiel, member of this team and director of the group for defense of the freedom of expression in Latin America, Fundamedios, a conversation in which the situation for Nicaraguan journalists is pointed out.
Listen to the podcast at this link:
From other sources:
Police arrest a Catholic priest, adding up to 11 jailed
The priest Enrique Martínez Gamboa on the evening of the 13th of October became the eleventh Catholic religious that the Nicaraguan regime has jailed in less than six months, in a context of rampant religious persecution. The police broke into the house of the priest's family, located in Managua, where he was living. Sources from the church confirmed that he was moved to the feared El Chipote prison, but up to the present, the National Police have not given any information about his detention nor the charges against him.
“The priest of the parish of Santa Martha, in Managua, Father Enrique Martínez, was kidnapped. The priests and the Catholic Church demand his liberation and the end of the persecution against the church and its clergy, freedom, and democracy.” twitted the priest Uriel Vallejos, who went into exile at the end of last August, after four days of confinement in his parish, Divina Misericordia, in the northern province of Matagalpa.
The police entered the home of Father Martínez with violence and tore down the door of the room he was in.
“They got to the room where he was and started to kick the door. They smashed the door and took him out hitting and shoving him and then pushing him into the truck. He said to them “Assassin police” and various times shouted “Viva Cristo Rey” and “They are taking me away by force,” sources close to the family confided to Confidencial.
Eleven priests have been captured in less than six months in Nicaragua where there are two who have been sentenced and a bishop under house arrest. More than 60 nuns and priests have left or been expelled from the country.
Argentine justice opens a criminal investigation against Daniel Ortega
The Argentine justice has opened a criminal investigation of the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, and of the vice president, Rosario María Murillo, to determine if they are responsible for crimes.
The decision was made on October 5, 2022 by the Argentine federal judge Ariel Lijo, in response to a complaint presented by two lawyers and at the request of the prosecutor Eduardo Taiano, who emphasized that the Argentine federal justice system is entitled to investigate violations of human rights which happen in other countries because the national constitution recognizes the principle of universal jurisdiction.
As a first measure, the judge prepared a petition to the Nicaraguan justice system to inform the court whether there are open cases of alleged illegal detentions and disappearances of people, as reported.
The Nicaraguan government has not formulated commentary on this matter.
For the prestigious Nicaraguan jurist Uriel Pineda, a consultant for matters of human rights, there is enough evidence to judge Ortega, Rosario Murillo, and their circle of power for crimes against humanity. “The exercise of documentation made by the Inter-American Committee of Human Rights (CIDH)in various reports, specifically the report published in December of 2018, which was prepared by the International Group of Independent Experts, is absolutely clear. This report accredits a context of crimes against humanity,” Pineda guaranteed.
OEA demands an end to repression and liberation of political prisoners
The 52nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OEA) demanded the liberation of political prisoners in Nicaragua and the end of the repression against directors and leaders of the Catholic church, in a new resolution about the “political and human rights crisis in Nicaragua,” approved on October 8 in Lima.
In the first point of the document, approved by acclamation, it was resolved “to urge the government of Nicaragua to stop all violent action against the people of the country and to reestablish fully civil, political rights, religious freedom and the rule of law; to put an end to judicial intimidation and harassment, administrative and of other types, against the journalist, especially women and against media of communication and non-governmental organizations.
The states members of the OEA demanded that the government of Nicaragua,“ free all the political prisoners, in compliance with the decisions and recommendations of the International Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.” The text highlights that the “worsening of the economic and political conditions has pushed some 250 thousand Nicaraguans to flee the country since 2018.
The General Assembly of the OEA invited the members of the state to create a high-level commission with the mission “to offer the government of Nicaragua the time to discuss all pertinent matters.” The government has not reacted to the matter.
Translation: Lucina Kathmann, Vicepresident of PEN International