On Monday, Nicaragua’s Public Ministry, controlled by the Ortega regime, accused government opponents Miguel Mora, Miguel Mendoza and María Fernanda Flores of being alleged perpetrators of the crime of “conspiracy to commit the undermining of national integrity.” This is the same crime that most of the political prisoners arrested in the framework of the electoral process have been charged with.
The charges were disclosed at a secret hearing to which the accused’s attorneys were not allowed.
Journalist Miguel Mora, an opposition presidential hopeful, was arrested for the second time on June 20. Since then, the Police have not allowed his relatives to visit, and only allowed water and medicines through to him. It is assumed he is being held in the jail known as El Nuevo Chipote.
Meanwhile, Tuesday, August 31, marked 72 days since journalist Miguel Mendoza and former first lady María Fernanda Flores were arrested. Presumably the sportswriter is imprisoned at El Nuevo Chipote, while the former first lady is under house arrest. A communiqué from the Public Ministry, states that according to Article 410 of Nicaragua’s penal code, the accused could receive sentences of 10 to 15 years in prison.
In the context of the electoral process, Nicaraguan authorities have arrested 35 opposition leaders, including seven presidential hopefuls for next November’s elections, in which President Daniel Ortega will seek re-election.
35 arrested and 27 are now accused
In the past week, presidential aspiring candidates Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Arturo Cruz and Felix Maradiaga have been charged with the crime of “conspiracy.” Charged with this same crime are also the political prisoners former deputy Jose Pallais, former president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), Jose Adan Aguerri, the leaders of the Blue and White Movement, Violeta Granera and Tamara Davila Rivas. Likewise, political scientist Manuel Salvador Orozco, director of the Center for Migration and Economic Stability in Washington D.C.
The escalation of charges continued with the imprisoned leaders of the Unamos party, Ana Margarita Vijil Gurdian, Suyén Barahona, Dora María Tellez, Hugo Torres and Víctor Hugo Tinoco. Banker, Luis Rivas was also charged.
The Public Ministry also expanded the fabricated charges against presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro Barrios in the case of alleged money laundering against the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation. This case has progressed in a manner plagued by irregularities, with attorneys denouncing that they have not been allowed to meet with their clients or have access to their files.
In the same case, the Prosecutor’s Office also accused Cristiana Chamorro Barrios’ brothers, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro [in jail,] and Carlos Fernando Chamorro [in exile], director of Confidencial and Esta Semana, of laundering assets, even though they have no economic ties with the Foundation. Carlos Fernando rejects the accusation, categorizing it as an attempt to silence the independent press.
Also charged in the case against the Violeta Chamorros de Barrios Foundation are former employees Walter Gomez, Marcos Fletes, Ana Elisa Martinez Silva, Emma Lopez, Guillermo Medrano y María Lourdes Arroliga, as well as Cristiana Chamorro’s driver, Pedro Vasquez.