Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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LATIN AMERICA | 18-06-2019 17:59

Nicaragua says released all considered political prisoners

The opposition maintains that more than 80 people it considers political prisoners are still in custody. Protests erupted in April 2018 calling for President Daniel Ortega to step down.

Nicaragua said Tuesday that it has released all prisoners detained in relation to 2018 anti-government protests, though the opposition maintains that more than 80 people it considers political prisoners are still in custody.

President Daniel Ortega's government said in a statement that it has complied with a 90-day period for releasing such prisoners as part of negotiations this spring, a period that expired Tuesday.

According to the government statement, on March 27 an agreement was reached for the release of "people involved in the violent actions" during the protests, per a list that was reviewed by third parties.

It added that "all those people" are now free under a recently approved and controversial amnesty law, and under a commitment not to repeat their alleged offenses.

Carlos Tunnermann of the Civic Alliance opposition group said its members would meet with Roman Catholic officials to discuss the situation. He added that 84 prisoners were still behind bars, and they were not on the original list because they were arrested afterward.

The previous day he had said more than 600 prisoners had been freed since February. The most recent group release of 56 people took place May 11 and included student and farm leaders.

Víctor Hugo Tinoco, a former deputy foreign minister under Ortega who has broken with the ruling Sandinista party, accused the president of trying to appear like he is making concessions while failing to live up to agreements.

"Ortega is demonstrating that he does not intend to free all the prisoners nor have early elections," Tinoco said, referring to two key opposition demands.

The protests erupted in April 2018 over a planned social security overhaul and broadened to include demands for Ortega's exit and early elections.

At least 325 people died in a crackdown by security forces and armed, allied civilian groups, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Over 2,000 were wounded, and tens of thousands fled the country into exile.

- AP

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