A few months before the presidential elections in November, the Sandinista government launched a raid with arrests of five would-be opponents to the presidency, or of critics, activists, businessmen, and even former comrades in arms of the president.
The last to go to prison was the former deputy and journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, son of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and brother of the presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro, one of the detained opponents.
"We come three times a day and the only thing they receive)from us is water," said Martha Urcuyo, wife of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, outside this police judicial aid prison, where they take people who are under investigation.
The president, a 75-year-old ex-guerrilla who had already ruled from 1979 to 1990, returned to power in 2007 with the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and remains there after two consecutive re-elections.
His vice president is his wife, Rosario Murillo.
The opposition and the international community have accused him of ruling in an authoritarian manner after the brutal repression of demonstrations against his administration in April 2018, which left more than 300 dead and thousands of exiles, according to human rights organizations.
The opposition takes it for granted that he will attempt a fourth consecutive term and that, with the imprisonment of potential rivals, he is clearing the way for his purpose.
“Some have been [detained] for 31 days and no one [has allowed them to see them], not even the lawyers; We hope they are there ”, in El Chipote, a place that human rights organizations have considered used for torture.
“We don't know anything, they haven't informed us, or said absolutely nothing. They have not let them see the lawyers, we have zero information, ”said Arlen Tinoco, daughter of former Vice-Chancellor Víctor Tinoco, who was arrested on June 13.
“Lately they are only receiving us water, suddenly they have let me pass some masks [as protection against covid], some toilet paper. Before, they were receiving us, but we have been receiving only water for about two weeks, ”added Tinoco.
The government describes opponents as "criminals" who have attacked the country's security and tried to organize a coup to overthrow Ortega, financed by the United States government.
They are being detained for inciting foreign interference and promoting sanctions against the country, charges established in a law approved by the Congress, dominated by Sandinismo.
Lawyers for the presidential candidates Juan Sebastián Chamorro and Félix Maradiaga issued a statement on Wednesday in which they call on the government to recognize and comply with the measures granted last week by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court of Human Rights), which calls for their immediate release. from both.
The court's petition also covers businessman José Aguerri and social activist Violeta Granera.