Ortega orders night raids, arrests students and farm leaders

Opposition leaders kidnapped on the night of July 5, 2021. Photo: Confidencial

Students Lesther Aleman and Max Jerez, and rural leaders Medardo Mairena, Pedro Mena, Freddy Navas and Pablo Morales join ‘electoral hostages’

By Ivette Munguia (confidential)

HAVANA TIMES – The Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN) and the Campesino Movement on Monday reported nightly raids aimed at arresting several of their leaders.

Presidential candidate Medardo Mairena, peasant leaders Pedro Mena, Freddy Navas and Pablo Morales were kidnapped in a raid. Simultaneously, university student leaders Lesther Aleman and Max Jerez were also kidnapped.

It is assumed that they are all held in the infamous El Chipote interrogation prison, where dozens of former political prisoners have denounced different types of torture.

AUN vice president Dolly Mora said in an audio that Aleman was taken from where he lived, in the presence of his mother. Meanwhile, Jerez was captured in a safe house south of Managua, where he was a refugee with two other people.

The police raid took place after 9:00 p.m. and, according to Mora, was carried out by three police patrols and two undercover vehicles. The students were under siege for several weeks.

Meanwhile, Medardo Mairena is the sixth presidential candidate [for what would have been an opposition primary election] kidnapped. Since June 2, the Ortega-Murillo regime has ordered the arrest of Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Miguel Mora.

This is the second time that the peasant leader Medardo Mairena has been imprisoned by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. On July 13, 2018, he was captured and then sentenced to 216 years in prison for fabricated terrorism crimes. He was released on June 11, 2019, under a regime-promoted amnesty law to allow impunity for his own crimes, which include 328 documented killings in 2018.

After the arrest, AUN released a video which Jerez recorded in case he was arrested or disappeared. “If you watch this video, it’s because I’m held by the dictatorship, or I’m in solitary confinement, thus adding to the list of political prisoners of the Ortega regime. [now over 150]. This is the time to continue the fight, the dictatorship wants to put an end to hope, we must together continue this fight for the freedom of the Nicaraguan people ”, he declared.

For his part, the leader of the Campesino Movement, Freddy Navas, left a video in which he declared: “If you watch this video, it’s because they have already taken me. I’m already in prison, and trust me, I’m prepared somehow. They even say that New Chipote prison is better than the other, ”he joked.

Navas also recalled that during the year 2018, he spent two and a half months in solitary confinement, naked, sleeping on tiled floors. “The torture, the beatings, the psychological pressure was great, but also God has no borders and your prayers have reached me… Daniel Ortega is not the owner of Nicaragua, the owners of Nicaragua are each of you “, He underlined.

This new arrest comes after the imprisonment of 21 other “electoral hostages” during the latest wave of repression which began at the end of May. These included five presidential candidates, two former vice-ministers of foreign affairs, two former Sandinista guerrillas, two former lawmakers, a former business leader, a banker, four chiefs. opposition, a sports journalist, two former NGO employees and a private driver.

The detainees were held incommunicado and their families denounced that the police were not receiving food for them. They are not allowed to meet with their defense lawyers or their families. In addition, the courts deny them information about secret court cases.

Taking advantage of a recent change in detentions law that Ortega passed, the judiciary extended the investigation period from 48 hours to 90 days to detain government opponents detained without charge.

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