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McGovern Calls on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to free all political prisoners and ensure upcoming elections are free and fair

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Washington, August 13, 2021 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a leading congressional advocate for human rights, today released a letter to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega urging him in the strongest possible terms to free all political prisoners, ensure that conditions for the upcoming elections in November meet international standards and resume cooperation with international human rights bodies.

“Today the moral authority in Nicaragua lies not with the government but with the campesinos and students who peacefully took to the streets in April 2018, only to be met with brutal force at every turn, and with the leaders of the democratic opposition who have continued to resist the government’s authoritarian turn,” wrote McGovern in the letter. “I stand in solidarity with them.”

In recent months the Nicaraguan government, under Ortega’s leadership, has undertaken a systematic campaign to impede the participation of opposition leaders in elections scheduled for next November. Since late May, more than 30 social and political leaders have been arbitrarily detained and imprisoned based on ambiguous and vaguely written laws that restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and political participation. These actions follow three years of deepening repression that began with the crushing of peaceful protests in April 2018. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has described the situation in Nicaragua as the complete breakdown of rule of law in the country. 

The text of the letter is available here.

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