Activist countries

27 OAS countries “appalled” by the death of Hugo Torres

A total of 27 member countries of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States signed a statement in which they clearly expressed their dismay at the death of the former guerrilla fighter, retired brigadier general and political prisoner on the orders of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, Hugo Torres Jimenezand reiterated their condemnation of the imprisonment by the regime of more than 170 political prisoners.

25 countries have already signed the declaration in which they also demand the release of political prisoners, who are subjected to inhuman prison conditions. During the development of the session on Friday, February 18, the representatives of Venezuela and Uruguay joined in the statement.

“We are deeply shocked by the death of Nicaraguan citizen Hugo Torres (in Nicaragua on February 12), who was a political prisoner and who was arrested last June and held in inhumane conditions, like many others imprisoned for their opinions. Strategies. The circumstances of his detention and untimely death constitute a painful injustice both for him and for his bereaved family, and an affront to the values ​​our nations stand for,” quoted the statement, issued during the session by the Chilean representative, who along with Canada, coordinate the OAS working group dealing with the crisis in Nicaragua.

The declaration was signed by the delegations of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, States States, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, then Venezuela and Uruguay.

“It should be recalled that, through various resolutions adopted since June 2018, this Permanent Council has repeatedly recognized the seriousness and worsening of human rights conditions in Nicaragua and has continued to offer its help to remedy this situation despite the government’s snubs. As recently as December 8, this Council called for the immediate release of all political prisoners held in Nicaragua,” the statement added.

This Friday’s session was convened at the request of the delegations of Canada, Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and United States.

“The situation in Nicaragua is a challenge to these principles and values. Our Organization and we, its Member States, cannot sit idly by. None of us can remain silent in the face of the tragedy unfolding in Nicaragua, where human suffering escalates as the political, civil and human rights that all our nations value are ignored, eroded or violated,” adds the press release. . declaration.

We believe that the continued detention of political prisoners constitutes a serious violation of the rights to which all member states of the OAS have declared their adherence. United, we raise our voices in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people, with the victims of human rights violations and with the members of their families; and in doing so, we reiterate our firm belief that all political prisoners in Nicaragua must be released immediately,” the document stresses.

Bertha Valle: “They were accused of baseless and ridiculous accusations”

Berta Valle, wife of activist and presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga, who maintains an international campaign to demand the release of her husband and is also accused by Ortega of “treason against the homeland”, spoke during the session of the ‘OAS to be the voice of the relatives of the political prisoners imprisoned in Chipote.

“My husband was arbitrarily detained for 255 days. He was missing and incommunicado for long periods. Together with Victoria Cárdenas, wife of Juan Sebastián Chamorro, another of the detained presidential candidates, we led an international campaign for the release of all political prisoners in Nicaragua. The situation in Nicaragua has worsened since the last OAS Permanent Council was held,” Valle cried.

“The only crime that Victoria and I have committed is asking for the release of our husbands, and for this we have been accused by the regime. Currently, Félix, Juan Sebastián and five other opposition leaders are on day four of an illegal political trial that violates due process guarantees. They were charged with baseless and ridiculous charges, in trials taking place in a police station known as El Chipote, not in court, and behind closed doors. They were unable to meet their lawyers. We anticipate that they will be sentenced to terms of 15 to 25 years against them, using their activities and presentations before the OAS and the United Nations as evidence,” he added.

Bianca Jagger: political prisoners are “in danger of death”

Nicaraguan human rights activist Bianca Jagger also took the floor to “ask and beg” the countries grouped within the OAS to intervene firmly in the human rights situation in Nicaragua and for the liberation political prisoners, since they are in a “life and death situation” due to the inhuman conditions and ill-treatment they suffer in the regime’s prisons.

“They are facing a life or death situation. The lives of 177 political prisoners are in the hands of dictator Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. This is why I came to ask you, to beg you, to do everything so that there are no more deaths. The Ortega-Murillo regime has been very clear in its refusal to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Nicaragua. The regime is convinced that the international community will not respond commensurately to its actions. That’s why I’m here, to ask them to prove them wrong,” said the renowned international activist.

He also referred to the illegalities and harassment against retired Brigadier General Hugo Torres Jiménez, during his capture and subsequent imprisonment. “His relatives say that before this imprisonment, General Hugo Torres was a healthy man. Many of his classmates say he was not a person who would bow down in jail. He was a disciplined man and exercised often. Suddenly, Torres started getting sick in jail. Her legs swelled up. I don’t know how long he was in this situation, until one day he passed out and that’s when they were finally released. He never informed the legal assistance (of the national police) of his transfer to the hospital. They took him away in violation of due legal process, in hiding,” Jagger said.

IACHR: political prisoners are in “deplorable conditions” and suffer “inhuman treatment”

During this session, Commissioner Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana, Rapporteur on the rights of persons deprived of their liberty and for the prevention and fight against torture of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)), an agency attached to the OAS, which presented the agency’s assessment of the situation in Nicaragua. Ralón Orellana demanded that the regime open an independent investigation into the circumstances of the death of Hugo Torres Jiménez, arguing that the tragedy occurred in “unacceptable conditions”.

The official also spoke of the torture and isolation conditions to which the areas of conscience Ana Margarita Vijil, Tamara Dávila, Dora María Téllez, Suyen Barahona and Violeta Granera are subjected. “The human rights situation is grave for people who remain deprived of their liberty simply because they are identified as opponents of the government. They are in deplorable conditions, suffering from inhuman treatment, restrictions on visits, lack of access to water and healthy food. These conditions have affected the health situation of incarcerated people, mainly those who suffer from the differentiated effects of detention, such as the elderly and women”, underlined the rapporteur of the IACHR.

“We want to draw attention to the situation of opposition leaders Ana Margarita Vijil, Tamara Dávila, Dora María Téllez, Suyen Barahona and Violeta Granera, who are victims of reprisals in prison for their political leadership, obtaining reprisal measures severe such as prolonged isolation. and threats because of their gender condition,” she added.

Luis Almagro: ‘Sandino would be imprisoned in Chipote’

The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, who closed the cycle of interventions after disclosing the declaration signed by the representatives of 27 countries gathered in the Permanent Council of the regional organization, lamented that the process of deterioration civil liberties in the country has deteriorated considerably since the last session on Nicaragua.

“It is a regime that has significantly distorted the concepts of justice, peace, human dignity and civil and political freedoms. If there is no compassion for those who were a comrade in struggle, work and revolution, democracy and respect for human rights cannot be expected,” Almagro told about the mistreatment and subsequent death of retired political prisoner and general Hugo Torres Jimenez. .

“We reaffirm that at the table of this Permanent Council there is no place for a dictatorship. We must put an end to the illegal trials that the regime promotes. We are a community of democracies. Next February 21 is commemorated as Sandino Day. It would be a great tribute to his sense of justice and his human compassion in freeing political prisoners. Sandino would be more than grateful. Otherwise, it will be necessary to believe that if General Sandino were alive today, he would be imprisoned in Chipote”, added the Secretary General.

This was the first session of the OAS following Secretary General Almagro’s report on his failed attempts to come to terms with the Ortega regime the arrival in the country of a high-level mission from the regional organization, with which the holding of new elections in Nicaragua would be negotiated with transparency and credible national and international observation.

Almagro’s efforts were an order established by a Permanent Council resolution approved on December 8, 2021, in which it was established to insist through diplomatic channels to agree with the Ortega regime on a way out to unblock the political crisis that is tormenting Nicaragua.