The Daniel Ortega regime has accused Andrea Margarita Del Carmen, Programme Director of the PEN Nicaragua center, which was closed down more than a year ago, of allegedly "conspiring" against the state. The police broke into her house to arrest her on 14 September, but she was not at home and the police took her son, Gabriel López Del Carmen, who is imprisoned in El Chipote prison and accused of the same offense. Due to police persecution, Andrea Margarita was forced to leave the country.
PEN International demands that the Nicaraguan regime immediately release Gabriel López Del Carmen and drop all charges against him and our colleague Andrea Margarita, as well as the release of the more than 205 political prisoners unjustly and arbitrarily detained in the country's prisons.
This is part of a new police-judicial onslaught, in which Ortega accused 17 Nicaraguans of conspiracy and spreading false news, among them five relatives of political prisoners who are held as hostages, and four workers of the newspaper La Prensa (a reporter, an administrative secretary, and two drivers, both detained two months ago).
Journalist Miguel Mendoza on hunger strike to see his daughter.
Journalist Miguel Mendoza is on a hunger strike in prison, demanding to be allowed to be visited by his eight-year-old daughter, Alejandra. The sports reporter was sentenced to nine years in prison for posting messages critical of the government on Twitter and Facebook and is being held in solitary confinement in El Chipote prison.
His 11 requests to the courts to allow his daughter to visit him have gone unanswered. For this reason, before visiting him once a month, his wife Margine Pozo memorizes every word the girl dedicates to him, records in her mind each of the many drawings she makes, and then tells Mendoza about them.
Only 10 visits from family members have been allowed in 15 months of captivity and under exaggerated control measures. "When we get to reception they search us, they make me undress, they make me take off my clothes," says Margine Pozo. "For me, that's sexual aggression. They do it to prevent us from having messages from the children marked on our bodies," she says.
**In other news**
Daniel Ortega deepens self-isolation.
The Nicaraguan government deepened its international isolation by expelling the EU ambassador, breaking diplomatic relations with the Netherlands, and rejecting the arrival of the new ambassador assigned by the United States.
The EU ambassador to Nicaragua, Bettina Muscheidt, left Nicaragua on 1 October after being declared non grata by the government, amid strong criticism by Ortega against the EU, which has called for an end to repression and has applied sanctions against dozens of officials and close associates of the president.
This approach also involves the regime's strong attacks on the OAS, the UN, the United States, the Vatican, and countries that have questioned Ortega's fourth consecutive mandate in 2021, with his rivals imprisoned or exiled.
In this context, Ortega announced in late September the severing of relations with the Netherlands, which he accused of being "interventionist" for suspending funding for a hospital. He also vetoed the new US ambassador, Hugo Rodríguez, and attacked Deputy Secretary of State Brian Nichols with racist epithets.
Political analyst Manuel Orozco told German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, that Ortega wants to "self-isolate" from the world to avoid international condemnation of his repressive policies and to avoid being held accountable.
IACHR Court demands the release of 45 political prisoners.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) requested the Nicaraguan government to immediately release 45 people deprived of their freedom for political reasons and held in eight detention centers throughout the country.
The act of notification took place on 4 October via a virtual hearing from the Court's headquarters in Costa Rica, with the participation of representatives of the detainees, but with the notable absence of representatives of the Nicaraguan state.
The Secretary of the IACHR Court, Pablo Saavedra Alessandri, read out the resolution in which precautionary measures were issued to ensure that Nicaragua guarantees the protection of the life, health, integrity, and freedom of the 45 people.
In the text, the Court considers that there are elements to "determine the existence of a situation of extreme gravity" and the need to take measures to protect these people as well as "the rights of the members" of their families.
Human rights collective registers 150 cases of torture since 2019.
A report by the Human Rights Collective "Nicaragua Never Again" recorded 150 cases of torture practiced in the country "systematically and with impunity" from 2019 to October 2022, by officials and apparatuses of Daniel Ortega's regime.
According to this organization, "the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo keeps more than 215 people imprisoned for political reasons in Nicaragua, and at least 34 of them are in the cells of the Directorate of Judicial Aid, known as Nuevo Chipote, where the most basic rights of any person deprived of liberty are violated".
In the report, the organization highlighted the practice of so-called "white torture" of political prisoners, which includes isolation, incommunicado detention, lack of food, lack of timely medical attention, denial of reading materials, and lack of regular family visits.
In addition, he warned, the inmates endure, on the part of the authorities, "lack of timely and specialized medical care aimed at eroding the physical state of political prisoners".
Priests and lay people accused of "conspiracy" and "spreading false news".
On 4 October, Two weeks after the Attorney General's Office charged the four priests (two seminarians and a cameraman from the Diocese of Matagalpa, who accompanied Bishop Rolando Álvarez for 15 days)the charges against them were announced: "conspiracy" and "propagation of false news".
The exiled lawyer Yader Morazán, said that the accused are the priests Ramiro Tijerino Chávez, rector of the Juan Pablo II University and in charge of the San Juan Bautista parish; José Luis Díaz and Sadiel Antonio Eugarrios, first and second vicar of the Matagalpa cathedral of San Pedro, respectively; and Raúl Antonio Vega. Also, seminarians Darvin Leiva Mendoza and Melkin Centeno Sequeira, and cameraman Sergio Cárdenas are under accusation.
The seven have been detained in 'El Chipote' since 19 August, when they were transferred by the police from Matagalpa. Bishop Álvarez is apparently under house arrest and his situation is unknown.
Exiled priest denounces persecution against the Catholic Church.
The priest Guillermo Trinidad Blandón, from the parish of Santa Lucía in the department of Boaco, denounced that the government denied him entry to Nicaragua after a trip to Jerusalem.
"I am surprised, I have never had a problem with justice, I am a priest who has simply preached the word of God, I have walked with my people, I have cried with my people, I have suffered with my people, I have laughed with my people", he said.
Father Trinidad affirmed that there is government persecution "that is not only against me, but it also is against the whole church", and he hoped that there is in fact a dialogue between the regime and the Vatican, which will help to stop the injustice, repression, and harassment of priests, bishops and parish priests in Nicaragua.
Ortega lashes out at the Vatican: the Church is "a perfect dictatorship".
Just days after Pope Francis revealed that there is "a dialogue" between the Holy See and the Nicaraguan regime, Daniel Ortega lashed out at the highest authorities of the Catholic Church, which he called "a perfect dictatorship".
"Since when are priests there to stage coups, and since when do they have the authority to talk about democracy?" he asked in a speech in front of hundreds of police officers on 29 September. "Who elects the priests, the bishops, the pope, the cardinals? How many votes? Who gives them?" he continued.
For the former Marxist guerrilla fighter, who now defines himself as a Catholic, the Church cannot speak of democracy, because "the bishops are appointed by someone who has not been elected by the people, but by a group of cardinals," he said in an obvious allusion to Pope Francis.
"Everything is imposed, it is a dictatorship, the perfect dictatorship, it is a tyranny, the perfect tyranny," Ortega said.