NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA

One month into his election, Daniel Ortega continues his repressive policies against democracy. This time, the crackdown takes a new form. He managed to get elected for the fourth time in a row, crushing democracy in its path.

Nicaragua: unfair trials and vengeance set in

By: Antonio C. López, ISHR Nicaragua, February 9th, 2022.

Hardly one month into his inauguration, the President of Nicaragua, unconstitutionally re-elected by fourth time, Daniel Ortega is back to continue his repressive policies against the Nicaraguan democratic opposition. This time, the crackdown takes a new form.

At the National Assembly –the Nicaraguan legislative body whose majority is made up of Sandinista as well— many civics organizations (NGOs) and private universities were deprived of their legal personality. Consequently, The Nicaraguan dictatorship is getting rid of those that might eventually dare to cause any political trouble.

Among those affected, UPOLI (Universidad Politécnica) that together with the UCA (Universidad Centroamericana) were in 2018, the cradles of the biggest student rebellion ever faced by Ortega since he came back to power in 2007.

There are other minor universities that also got their death sentence from the incumbent government.

And a group of NGOs also had their legal personality arbitrarily taken away. Among those a group of organizations led by the Roman Catholic bishop of Matagalpa-Estelí, Rolando Álvarez who happens to be one enemy of Ortega. No wonder, Monsignor Álvarez has been an adamant enemy of the regime; his incendiary speeches from his pulpit every Sunday morning captivate thousands of Nicaraguans nation-wide.

Yet, there are more things to say about Ortega’s new repressive policies. The more than 170 political prisoners who have been in jail for several months now are, one by one, having a trial. But not the way justice is done in any free, democratic country. These are unfair trials done inside the jail buildings (thus, the free press will not know or say anything about it!). They are run by Sandinista judges who have pledged allegiance to Ortega, the accused ones are not entitled to present their evidences to prove their points. No, they are brought to “justice” to hear a one-side verdict. The presumption of innocence of those facing justice is not taken for granted. Even the  Attorney General involved in each unfair trial assumes –and so it is previously stated—that those brought to courts “are criminals per se”.

Among those who have already been condemned are prominent former-sandinistas like Dora María Téllez, Margarita Vigil Gurdián, and former comandante Hugo Torrez.

In so doing, Ortega is proving his insatiable thirst for absolute power. Human right violations are mounting in every trial performed in jail. He wants to continue to be a full-fledged dictator with no respect for Nicaraguan law or international norms. In his mind, laws are meant only for others to comply with. This concept does not apply to him at all.