The United States is imposing visa brakes on Nicaraguan officials amid repression | Human Rights News

The United States imposes restrictions on 100 Nicaraguan officials who say they are involved in government repression against political opponents and abuse of rights.

The United States has imposed visa restrictions on 100 Nicaraguan officials accused of being involved in President Daniel Ortega scaling repression on political opponents ahead of the November elections and other abuses of rights.

In a statement on Monday, the U.S. State Department said the restrictions would affect 100 members of Nicaragua’s assembly and judiciary, including prosecutors and judges, as well as some of its family members. .

U.S. visas held by designated individuals were revoked, the department said, without saying officers were subject to the restrictions.

“Specifically, those who have taken aim in today’s actions have helped activate the Ortega-Murillo regime’s attacks on democracy and human rights,” the statement said.

More than two dozen Nicaraguan presidential hopefuls, opposition leaders, student activists and other figures have been arrested over the past month amid uninterrupted and widespread repression by the Ortega government.

The longtime president justified the arrests by saying that his administration is prosecuting criminals who have plotted a coup against him.

But civil society and human rights groups have accused the 75-year-old – who ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 and returned to power in 2007 – of winning two successive re-election bids since then. a growing authoritarianism.

“The gravity and intensification of the Ortega government’s brutal repression against critics and members of the opposition in recent weeks call for a doubling of international pressure,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch in un statement on June 22nd.

“It is essential for the UN Secretary-General to build on existing UN actions by bringing this situation to the attention of the Security Council.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman last month said Guterres encouraged Nicaraguan authorities to respect international human rights obligations and to release opposition leaders.

Ma u the arrests continued; last week, five opposition leaders – including Lesther Aleman, a prominent student leader during mass anti-government demonstrations in Nicaragua in 2018 – were detained.

The situation also continues to induce international condemnation. The EU’s first diplomat, Josep Borrell, said last week that “more restrictive” measures may be needed against Ortega’s Sandinista government.

The United States on June 9th sanctions imposed on four Nicaraguan officials who support Ortega, including the president’s daughter, accusing them of undermining democracy and abusing human rights.

In a statement on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration “will continue to use the diplomatic and economic resources at our disposal to push for the release of political prisoners and to support the calls.” of Nicaraguans for greater freedom, responsibility, and free and fair elections. “

Nicaragua’s presidential election is scheduled for November 7.

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