By Inés M. Pousadela, Senior Researcher at CIVICUS
On 9 February, Nicaragua’s dictator, Daniel Ortega, unexpectedly ordered the release of 222 political prisoners, including several former presidential candidates, opposition party leaders, journalists, priests, diplomats, businesspeople and former government supporters branded as enemies for expressing mild public criticism.
Also released were several members and leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) and social movements, including student activists and environmental, peasant and Indigenous rights defenders. Some had been arrested on trumped-up charges for taking part in mass protests in 2018 and stuck in prison for more than four years.
But the Ortega regime didn’t simply let them go – it put them on a charter flight to the USA and before their plane had even landed permanently stripped them of their Nicaraguan nationality and their civil and political rights. The government made clear it wasn’t recognising their innocence; it was only commuting their sentences.
Read on Inter Press Service