On January 10, Peace Brigades International posted:

Yesterday, January 9, PBI accompanied the organizations of Nicaraguan human rights defenders exiled in Costa Rica, who celebrated the release in #Nicaragua of 222 political prisoners.

“We are flooded with a great feeling of struggle. You feel hope, joy and resilience,” the Red de Mujeres Pinoleras said on her website.

The Movimiento Campesino de Nicaragua , Colectivo de Derechos Humanos Nicaragua Nunca +, the Madres de Abril and other organizations have denounced the deportation and deprivation of nationality that makes these exiled people stateless. Likewise, they have raised concern for the more than 20 people who still remain in prison.

This day the Nicaraguan exile in #CostaRica reunited to embrace and be filled with forces and reaffirm the commitment to continue fighting against impunity, for truth, justice, repair and for the total restoration of human rights in Nicaragua.

News and commentary

Photo: Former Sandinista revolutionary Dora Maria Tellez, who was sentenced in February 2022 to 8 years in prison, was released on February 9 and exiled to the U.S.

Agence France Presse reports: “Nicaragua’s government on Thursday [February 9] freed 222 people among hundreds of critics and opposition figures in jail for allegedly threatening the country’s sovereignty among other charges widely denounced as bogus.”

Among those released – former guerrilla Dora Maria Tellez.

AFP adds: “Tellez, 67, is a former comrade in arms of Ortega in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, now the ruling party. Having served as Ortega’s health minister in the 1980s, she left the party in 1995 to co-found the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS). Tellez became a vocal critic of Ortega, and denounced his government’s clampdown on 2018 demonstrations that rights groups say claimed 328 lives. She was among those rounded up in June 2021, and later sentenced to eight years in prison.”

Photo: Tellez in 1980.

El Pais further notes: “The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, which exercises a policy of generalized repression in the Central American country, has released 222 of the 245 political prisoners that the country has without notifying the relatives. Immediately, he has banished them on a plane that has landed in Washington.”

That article adds: “The Mechanism of Political Prisoners Nicaragua, a civilian observatory, has assured however that, after comparing its list of people detained for political reasons in Nicaragua with that of people released today by the regime, they have identified ‘38 people who were not included.’” The observatory has stated: “We demand their release.”

And the BBC quotes a US State Department official who has commented: “The United States facilitated the transportation of these people once they are released in Nicaragua and they will receive a permit to remain in the country for two years for humanitarian reasons.”

Erika-Guevara Rosas with Amnesty International says: “While we share our excitement at the fact that those removed to the United States are no longer behind bars in Nicaragua, we are shocked and saddened that their detention has culminated in such a disturbing fashion. Those detained spent days, months and years in arbitrary detention, under extreme conditions, and have been forced into exile solely for demanding human rights.”

On September 21, 2022, Peace Brigades International presented to the 51st Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva. Our statement began: “We welcome the High Commissioner’s report on the human rights situation in Nicaragua and echo his concerns about the deterioration of the situation. Coinciding with its report, PBI has verified that in the last year the reduction of civic and democratic space in Nicaragua has deepened.”

Our full statement can be read here.

Peace Brigades International launched its accompaniment project for Nicaraguans in exile in Costa Rica in January 2020.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights  has previously stated that 23% of the thousands of Nicaraguans in exile are human rights defenders, 20% are students who took part in protests, while others include former soldiers, police, journalists and doctors.

Photo by PBI-Nicaragua.

Published by Brent Patterson on