“It’s especially good news for the prisoners themselves,” says a Dutchman who travels regularly to Nicaragua. For security reasons, he remains anonymous. “The conditions in which they were held were beyond words.”
Prisoners are denied access to literature, tortured and sometimes locked in solitary cells for months. “You are slowly going crazy.”
According to official counts, 245 political opponents are detained in Nicaragua to date. From journalists to presidential candidates, anyone critical of Daniel Ortega’s regime could be jailed for high treason.
So now a huge part has been suddenly released. But they are no longer allowed to stay in their own country: the United States has picked up the prisoners by plane. A former Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States calls the release “rarely seen”.
Nonetheless, Nicaraguans reacted to the release with mixed feelings, the Dutchman says. “On the one hand euphoric, but also realistic. All the people who could still start an uprising against the regime are driven out of the country. An effective way to silence a country.”
According to him, Western countries should be careful not to relax the pressure on the dictator Ortega. With the release, he would especially like to polish his internationally weak image. “The dictatorship remains.
It remains to be seen which prisoners will remain in detention. His release would have been conditional on giving up his Nicaraguan identity. Some prominent members of the opposition reportedly refused to do so. They therefore remain blocked.
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