Nicaragua: Political prisoners and human rights defenders subjected to State-inflicted torture

Press release
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Geneva-Paris, January 10, 2022 — Detention conditions in Nicaragua constitute torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, decry the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) and the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH). The Observatory and CENIDH echo and join the families of over 150 political prisoners and human rights defenders in calling for their immediate and unconditional release and respect for their human rights.

The relatives of the detained individuals, following surprise visits at the end of 2021, made known the situation of their relatives, who have been illegally and arbitrarily detained since May 2021. The Observatory and CENIDH have deemed that these conditions constitute torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment—contrary to international human rights law, which the State of Nicaragua is obliged to respect.

A public statement issued by family members details the various cases of physical decline and lack of adequate medical care, in particular those of José Pallais, Mauricio Díaz, Violeta Granera, Edgar Parrales, Juan Lorenzo Hollman, Roger Reyes, and Lesther Alemán. Irving Larios, Miguel Mendoza, Roger Reyes, Yader Parajón, Alvaro Vargas, and Michael Healy are held in punishment cells. The continuous isolation in solitary confinement of women human rights defenders Tamara Dávila, Ana Margarita Vijil, Suyen Barahona, and Dora María Téllez is specifically discriminatory.

These human rights defenders are among the more than 150 people detained in the context of the crackdown in Nicaragua that began in April 2018. Through a repressive regulatory framework that has sought since May 2021 to paralyse Nicaraguan civil society—staunchly denounced by the Observatory—43 human rights defenders and political dissidents have been detained, including seven presidential contenders.

The Observatory and CENIDH stand in solidarity with all political prisoners, human rights defenders, and their families, and demand an end to their criminalisation and the immediate release of all those detained in the context of the repression. The Observatory and CENIDH join the families’ humanitarian appeals for regular visits and trusted lawyers and for the respect of their human rights and due process.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

The Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH) was founded in 1990 with a mandate to promote and protect human rights. In December 2018, the Nicaraguan National Assembly arbitrarily stripped it of its legal status, raided its headquarters and its assets. CENIDH is a member of FIDH and OMCT and, despite the intimidation and repression against it, it continues to work for the defence and promotion of human rights in Nicaragua.

For more information, please contact:
• FIDH: José Carlos Thissen: + 51 95 41 31 650
• OMCT: Iolanda Jaquemet: + 41 22 809 49 39

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