Fifty-Six More Political Prisoners Released under Ortega-Murillo Amnesty: Mora, Coppens, Mairena go Home.

The Ortega-Murillo Interior Ministry (MIGOB) announced today the release of 56 more political prisoners, under the new amnesty law.

The amnesty law, though also ensuring that no Ortega-Murillo operatives will be investigated or tried for possible crimes against humanity as long as Ortega remains in power, secured the release of prisoners considered as the biggest “fish” in the sea of incarcerated journalists, students, activists, and leaders held in the Ortega-Murillo penal system.

Medardo Mairena, Pedro Mena, Miguel Mora, Lucía Pineda Ubau, Brandon Lovo, Glen Slate, Edwin Carcache, and Amaya Coppens were all released today.

Political Prisoners Released on June 11, 2019

  1. Cristopher Nahiroby Olivas Valdivia
  2. Christopher Marlon Méndez
  3. Carlos Alberto Cruz Aburto
  4. Pedro Lumbí Hernández
  5. Brandon Cristofer Lovo Tayler
  6. Amaya Eva Coppens Zamora
  7. Byron José Corea Estrada
  8. Freddy Alberto Navas López
  9. Joel Noel Blandón Villagra
  10. Omar Antonio Avilés Rocha
  11. Yubrank Miguel Suazo Herrera
  12. Luis Orlando Pineda Icabalzeta
  13. Irlanda Ondina Jerez Barrera
  14. Rafael Agustín Sequeira Duarte
  15. Ronald Iván Henríquez Delgado
  16. Marlon Antonio Castro López
  17. Cristhian Josué Mendoza Fernández
  18. Ricardo Humberto Baltodano Marcenaro
  19. Walter de Jesús Cerrato Rodríguez
  20. Cristian Rodrigo Fajardo Caballero
  21. Olesia Auxiliadora Muñoz Pavón
  22. Ismael Calderón
  23. Santiago Adrián Fajardo Baldizón
  24. Misael Espinoza
  25. Nicolás Cienfuegos Alaniz
  26. Mario Lener Fonseca Díaz
  27. Rogerio Adrián Ortega Franco
  28. Pedro Joaquín Mena Amador
  29. Tomás Ramón Maldonado Pérez
  30. Rogelio José Gámez Martínez
  31. Miguel de Los Ángeles Mora Barberena
  32. Noel Valdez Rodríguez
  33. Medardo Mairena Sequeira
  34. Erick Antonio Carazo Talavera
  35. Carlos Alberto Bonilla López
  36. Carlos Ramón Brenes Sánchez
  37. Jeffrey Isaac Jarquín
  38. Lenin Antonio Salablanca Escobar
  39. Jalviny Roberto Esteban Lesage
  40. Edwin José Carcache Dávila
  41. Kevin Rodrigo Espinoza Gutiérrez
  42. John Leonard Amort Paiz
  43. Apolonio Fargas Gómez
  44. Berman Cristian Cruz Torrez
  45. Lucía Agustina Pineda Ubau
  46. Abdul Montoya Vivas
  47. Nardo Rafael Sequeira Báez
  48. Glen Abrahán Slate
  49. Ulises Rubén Toval Ríos
  50. Yader Munguía Arias
  51. Ernesto Jarquín Orozco
  52. Francisco Antonio Sequeira Sequeira
  53. Oscar de la Cruz Valle Sequeira
  54. Denis Manuel Hernández Gutiérrez
  55. Amílcar Antonio Cortez Valle
  56. José Luis Ortega Briceño

The release began in the early hours of the morning, perhaps to avoid the spread of public demonstrations along the route of the government transports that took prisoners home, as it occurred during the first prisoner excarceration.

However, the news of the release ignited piquetes express throughout Managua.

As has become customary, the police deployed to surround citizens, regardless of whether or not they protest on private property. This group group staged their picket at the Pellas building.

Videos of the homecoming show defiant men and women celebrating their release, but also demanding justice for Eddy Montes. The footage below shows Miguel Mora, Edwin Carcache, Medardo Mairena and others.

MIGOB describes the released prisoners as having committed “common crimes against security and public peace.” The vague phrasing is meant to obscure the charges filed against them, which include terrorism, murder, and other serious felonies. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts of the OAS (GIEI) concluded that these types of charges were “improper.” According to GIEI, the judiciary under Ortega and Murillo

The Ortega-Murillo government has repeatedly rejected the GIEI’s report, arguing that it is “subjective”, “slanted,” “one-sided,” and interferes in the domestic affairs of Nicaragua.

Political Prisoners Receive Heroes’ Welcome in Many Locations.

Nicaraguans celebrated the return of the political prisoners, seemingly without fear of retaliation.  In the city of Bluefields, for example, citizens staged an impromptu parade to cheer for the release of Brandon Lovo and Glenn Slate. The two young men were convicted for the murder of journalist Angel Gahona. The trial was rife with irregularities, including a closed-door trial, death threats against defense lawyers, and dodgy eye-witnesses and physical evidence.

Police was at hand in Bluefields as well.

Journalists Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau were both charged with “inciting violence and hate” and “promoting terrorism.” Pineda, who has dual Nicaraguan-Costa Rican citizenship, stated that imprisoning journalists catalized the release of all political prisoners. “When people saw what they did to 100% Noticias, [mobilization worldwide] picked up the pace. Things had stagnated for a while, but when people saw journalists being jailed, that is a serious thing.”

Tomás Maldonado was greeted by the people of Jinotepe. Mr. Maldonado was accused of acts of terrorism, organized crime, obstruction of public services and property damages.

The people of León awaited Nahiroby Olivas with a chichero band, Nicaraguan flags, and cheers.

Olivas was charged with terrorism, aggravated murder, aggravated damages, and aggravated robbery. Upon release, he stated to Radio Darío “we have achieved the release of political prisoners; now we have to achieve freedom for Nicaragua because we are not free. We are all incarcerated.”

Yubrank Suazo, a student leader in Masaya, was charged with terrorism, attempted murder, threats, and obstruction of public services. The people of Masaya received him with Marimbas.

Medardo Mairena is is the coordinator of the National Council in Defense of the Land, the Lake, and Sovereignty, colloquially known as the “peasants’ movement.” Mairena, along with Pedro Mena, were detained on July 13, 2018, at the Managua airport. Mairena was convicted to over 200 years in prison, on charges of organized crime, kidnapping, murder and other crimes.

The flag shown in the video was made by the inmates. “We’ve been waiting for this moment” says Mairena, “[the flag] has been the weapon we have used since the beginning, and we have not given up. We keep on.”

Amaya Coppens is a 23-year old student leader from Leon. She was detained on September 10, and charged terrorism, obstruction of public services, kidnapping, illegal weapons’ possession, and aggravated robbery. Coppens strongly rejected the Amnesty Law. “We need justice in Nicaragua.  How is it possible for them to say that they forgive us? We have done nothing. They are the ones who need forgiveness, and we will neither forgive nor forget. We demand justice.”

Released Prisoners Reveal Conditions In Ortega-Murillo’s Prisons.

Several of the prisoners released today spoke to the press; they revealed more details about the conditions they suffered while inside the Ortega-Murillo prisons.

Irlanda Jerez, who organized protests against Ortega and Murillo at the Mercado Oriental, told journalists that she was drugged, beaten, psychologically tortured, and sexually abused. “But I’m still here. They could not break my spirit, and they will never be able to”

Jerez denounced that her house was broken into this morning, by a group of hooded paramilitaries, who beat up two of her employees and her husband, Daniel Esquivel. The house was ransacked by this group, said Jerez.

Medardo Mairena also spoke to the press. He said that the government had offered him his freedom “in exchange for accusing the Episcopal Conference of having organized a coup.” Mairena then added that when he refused, he was beaten.

Comité Pro Liberación de Presos Políticos: 89 Still Pending

The Comité Pro Liberación de Presos Políticos published a list of people who have been reported to them as political prisoners. Three of these names are in the official ICRC list and fifteen are on the IACHR list.

Alianza and Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco React to Release

The Alianza Cívica reacted to the release via press statement. The coalition demanded a protocol to ensure the safety of all political prisoners and exiled Nicaraguans. “The harassment and intimidation, as well as the hatred campaigns that promote confrontation and intolerance, must cease,” reads the statement.

Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco called for a “pitazo” to mark the release of the 56 prisoners.

Today’s prisoner release coincided with a hearing in front of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives, to discuss the “Ongoing crisis in Nicaragua“.