Nicaragua sentences former presidential candidate to eight years in prison for wider opposition

This is President Daniel Ortega’s government’s latest repression of opposition members.

Ortega demanded a fifth term as president last November. In June 2021, his government began using a vague national security law as a justification for barring opposition presidential candidates, opposition leaders, journalists, human rights activists and others inside ahead of the November election.

At least 40 opposition figures have been found guilty of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and economic crime, according to CNN Español.

Chamorro, a journalist and former director of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation for Reconciliation and Democracy, was sentenced to eight years in prison for crimes such as money laundering and wrongful detention and will remain under house arrest, according to the Nicaragua Center for Human Rights (CENIDH). Pedro Vásquez, the journalist’s driver, was sentenced to seven years in prison for money laundering, according to CENIDH.

Nicaragua finds former Secretary of State and journalist guilty of conspiracy

Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation administrator Walter Gómez and auditor Marcos Fletes were each sentenced to 13 years in prison for the same crimes, in addition to abuse and ideological lies, according to CENIDH.

The government also sentenced Chamorro’s brother and former Liberal deputy Pedro Joaquin Chamorro to nine years in prison for crimes of misconduct and misappropriation, according to CENIDH.

The former presidential candidate, her driver Vásquez, Gómez and Fletes, was also fined two dollars, one of 1.6 million USD and another of 56 million córdobas (1.56 million USD), CNN Español reported according to CENIDH.

All five were found guilty on March 12, 2022, in a closed trial, according to CNN Español. They pleaded not guilty and said they will appeal to the judiciary, according to CNN Español.

Roberto Lario, the official spokesman for Nicaragua’s judiciary, told CNN he had no comment on the lawsuits and the State Department did not release any updates on the case.

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