Critics accuse President Daniel Ortega of putting pressure on rivals ahead of this year’s election.
Prominent opposition leaders have been arrested in Nicaragua as concerns grow over what observers describe as pressure on opponents of President Daniel Ortega ahead of this year’s final election.
Police on Sunday arrested Ortega critic Suen Barahona, leader of the left-wing Unamos opposition party Suen Barahona, after three other party officials were arrested by police over the weekend.
Barajona is among the hopes of about a dozen opposition leaders, including the president, this month. arrested or disqualified from participating in the presidential contest to be held in November.
“It’s not just potential candidates, but political leaders,” said Hugo Torres, a former Sandinista dissident. “This is not a transition to dictatorship, it is a dictatorship in every way.”
The notes began on June 2, when: The police broke into the house Accused of money laundering immediately after the announcement of journalist’s possible presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro.
There have been at least 11 political leaders has been arrestedUntil recently, journalists have also been questioned by authorities.
Ortega’s loyalists claim that the authorities are only enforcing the law.
Under legislation passed in December, the Ortega government has the right to unilaterally declare citizens “terrorists” or coup plotters, classify them as “traitors to the homeland” and ban them from running as candidates.
The law punishes those who “lead or fund coups, encourage foreign interference, ask for military intervention, propose or plan economic blockades, applaud, and defend sanctions against Nicaragua or its citizens.”
However, observers have blamed Ortega, who has not yet confirmed his intention to run for re-election for a fourth consecutive term.
On Sunday, Nicaraguan police said Barahona had been arrested for trying to undermine the country’s independence and sovereignty, as well as “inciting foreign interference in its internal affairs, requesting military intervention and organizing with foreign funding.”
Unamos criticized the recent raids and arrests. “These actions against Unamos’s leadership are part of an escalating crackdown on the ortega regime against the democratic opposition,” the party said in a statement.
Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Antonio Guterres said that Guterres called on the Nicaraguan authorities to fully respect international human rights obligations and to release political leaders.
“These developments could seriously undermine public confidence in the democratic process ahead of the November general elections,” Stefan Dujarric told reporters.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Ortega was “becoming an international pariah” and “moving Nicaragua further away from democracy.”
On Wednesday, the United States announced sanctions against four Nicaraguan officials who support Ortega, including the president’s daughter, accusing them of undermining democracy and human rights abuses.
“President Ortega’s actions are hurting the Nicaraguan people, deepening the country into a dictatorship,” said Andrea Gaki, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.