FIDH rejects convictions of political prisoners and calls for their immediate release

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7 February 2022. Paris. FIDH rejects the summary and arbitrary trials and illegal convictions that have been taking place in Nicaragua against political prisoners arrested since May 2021 and demands the immediate release of the 167 people detained as part of the repression in Nicaragua.

The convictions are only intended to criminalise the exercise of civil and political right, such as freedom of expression and protection of human rights. On 1 February, Yaser Vado and Yader Parajon, whose brother was killed during the 2018 demonstrations, were tried and convicted. On 2 February, Ana Margarita Vijil, a lawyer and recognised defender of human rights, was tried and convicted. On 3 February, it was the turn of Dora Maria Tellez, the leader of the Sandinista revolution, and Lesther Alemán, the student leader of the 2018 demonstrations. On 4 February, the journalist Miguel Mora, who had declared himself a presidential candidate, was convicted. All these people were arbitrarily arrested and convicted under the same offence of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity to the prejudice of the Nicaraguan State and Nicaraguan society”.

These trials are illegal and do not observe the minimum standards of due process: they are conducted in a police complex and not in a Court as the law requires, the facilities are highly militarised, there has been flagrant breach of the right to a defence , lawyers have not had access to all or part of the proceedings and nor have they managed to speak freely with the detained people, the hearings are behind closed doors, because only one relation has been allowed to attend, the charges have no factual or legal basis, the State hides behind arbitrary rules and high-ranking officials, including Daniel Ortega, regularly infringe the presumption of innocence of prisoners in public statements.

FIDH recalls that 1614 people were arrested in the context of the systematic repression carried out since April 2018, according to the CIDH count. After the Amnesty Law that allowed most of them to be released, several were arrested a second time and there are presently 167 political prisoners in Nicaragua. In a context of repressive rules that seek to stifle Nicaraguan civil society, reported by the FIDH through the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in its report “The new laws of repression”, (ES) published in November 2021, since May 2021, 43 defenders of human rights and people of political opposition have been arrested, including 7 presidential candidates. These people were detained in conditions oftorture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, contrary to international human rights law, which the State of Nicaragua is obliged to respect.

FIDH urges the Nicaraguan authorities to put an end to all these political trials and also all types of attack and harassment exercised against political prisoners, and to release them immediately.

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