Nicaragua to try 46 jailed opposition members in kangaroo court
Many detained opposition leaders, including seven people who were considered potential candidates to challenge Ortega in the elections, have been imprisoned since May or June
February 1, 2022 12:47pm
Updated: February 1, 2022 4:27pm
Prosecutors of Daniel Ortega's leftist dictatorship announced Monday that starting this week they intend to begin trials against 46 political figures detained in the run-up to Nicaragua's November 7 presidential elections.
Many detained opposition leaders, including seven people who were considered potential candidates to challenge Ortega in the elections, have been imprisoned since May or June, reported Infobae.
The electoral process was denounced as illegitimate by the United States, the European Union and the General Assembly of the Organization of American States.
However, the dictator has not only prevented opposition voices from challenging him electorally, but has also engaged in torture and illegal detentions.
According to a Human Rights Watch recent report, "most of the critics have been held incommunicado and subjected to abuses in detention, including daily interrogations, prolonged solitary confinement, and inadequate food. The authorities have prevented the critics' lawyers from participating in public hearings, assigning public defenders instead. Despite repeated requests, most lawyers are denied access to court documents for months."
Prosecutors said that the trials against those imprisoned, and some of those under house arrest, will begin on Tuesday.
The director of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, lawyer Vilma Núñez, predicted that the hearings will be show trials and warned that the outcome has probably already been dictated.
"This looks like they will be pre-established sentences to innocent people. Let no one be confused, these are not trials. They are repressive farces that the regime uses to issue convictions and continue intimidating the people," Núñez exposed.
The prosecutors have made clear their plan of attack and advanced that the prisoners will be tried "for having violated the Constitution", as well as for "attempting against the national integrity, having received foreign financing to commit crimes of money laundering, goods and assets".
A controversial law passed in December grants the Ortega regime the power to unilaterally declare citizens as "terrorists" and classify them as "traitors to the homeland".
The law also prohibits candidates "who lead or finance a coup d'état... encourage foreign interference, call for military intervention... propose or plan economic blockades, applaud and defend the imposition of sanctions against Nicaragua or its citizens" from participating.
Ortega, a Sandinista party leader who is now 76 years old, won a fourth consecutive term.
The ruling Sandinista Front and its allies control congress and all government institutions. Ortega first served as president from 1985 to 1990, following the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Somoza family dictatorship, before returning to power in 2007.