Nicaragua: 222 political prisoners released from jail and banished from the country

Inti Ocon / AFP

Paris, Managua - 9 February 2023. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation in Nicaragua, Centro Nicaraguense de los Derechos Humanos (CENIDH), welcome the end of the conditions of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of 222 political prisoners in Nicaragua, who are now exiled in the United States of America.

Without prior notice, at 4 a.m on 9 February 2023, the Ortega-Murillo regime airlifted 222 political prisoners out of the country to Washington DC, United States of America. All of these individuals were deported and their citizenship rights were suspended for life, according to the reading of the sentence made this day by Judge Octavio Rothschu of the Court of Appeals of Managua.

"After more than two and a half years of arbitrary detentions, invalid trials and convictions against them, we are satisfied that these individuals are no longer suffering the subhuman conditions in which they had been living" declared Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia, President of CENIDH.

"However, deportation is a legal figure that is applied to foreigners who commit crimes in a country. This is in fact a banishment, which they want to call a deportation, and which is absolutely arbitrary and prohibited by international human rights norms"

Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia, President of CENIDH

Only hours after the release of the political prisoners, all of whom were convicted under Law 1055, the National Assembly amended the Nicaraguan Constitution to strip Nicaraguan nationality to all persons convicted under said law. This constitutes a repressive use of the law, characteristic of the Ortega-Murillo regime, and which will mean the loss of nationality of all those released today, who now find themselves in forced exile in the United States of America.

Despite the circumstances, it is a relief for the families and an achievement for the Nicaraguan population and the international community, which have not ceased their calls for the release of all political prisoners in Nicaragua and the cessation of acts of torture. FIDH and CENIDH will continue to demand the release of all political prisoners and to denounce the regime’s human rights violations.

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