The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, denounced this Monday the growing fence on freedoms in Nicaragua ahead of the November 7 elections, with at least 36 arbitrary arrests since May, invalidation of candidacies and cancellation of political parties.
Nicaraguans, Bachelet pointed out, have the right to run for president, participate in the campaign, and the media must cover the process, but “none of this is happening”, he regretted in his updated report on that country before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The high commissioner indicated that the 20 arrested in connection with the elections that she already denounced in June have been joined by another 16, “including politicians, human rights defenders, businessmen, journalists and peasant or student leaders.”
Among those last 16 detainees there are seven people who had publicly expressed their aspiration to stand in the presidential elections in Nicaragua.
“Most of these people they were deprived of liberty for up to 90 days, held incommunicado and some in isolation, without the authorities officially confirming their whereabouts to the families, “said the high commissioner, who also denounced possible cases of torture and mistreatment against some of them.
In the hearings of these detainees, many accused of conspiracy, access to relatives, independent press and “in most cases, not trusted lawyers,” added Bachelet.
The former Chilean president also recalled that three political parties have been canceled since May, the last of them Ciudadanos por la Libertad last August, “invalidating their candidacies. without being able to present his defense“.
Bachelet also pointed out that attacks on freedom of expression have intensified, as symbolized by the fact that on August 12 the newspaper La Prensa announced the cessation of its printed edition due to the retention of paper by the customs authority. .
“A day later, the National Police and the Public Ministry raided their facilities, seized material assets and later they arrested their general manager “he told the Human Rights Council.
In this context, Bachelet urged the government of Daniel Ortega to “stop the persecution against the opposition, the press and civil society “, and that” immediately and unconditionally release more than 130 people detained since April 2018 “according to complaints from human rights organizations.