IACHR Condemns Manipulation and Lack of Guarantees in Judgements of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua

IACHR Condemns Manipulation and Lack of Guarantees in Judgements of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua
Photo: UN News. Alvaro Navarro/ Articulo 66 https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/11/1026451


Bethania Godinho 

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the serious violations of due process and the right to defense during the legal proceedings for political prisoners in Nicaragua. It also urged the State to immediately release all those who have been detained since April 18, 2018, when the human rights crisis in the country began. The Special Follow-up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) received information on serious violations of criminal law and the lack of judicial guarantees. Specifically, the hearings are being held in private at El Chipote, and the independent media has been prohibited from attending them, which runs counter to national legislation.

Family members are denied entry to some of the trials, and defendants are brought to trial without prior notice. The defendants' legal representatives have spoken out against police harassment and the confiscation of belongings needed to participate in the hearings. They were also allegedly subjected to disproportionate searches that resulted in inappropriate touching of female lawyers and family members. The IACHR is particularly concerned by the fact that such processes continue, through the application of laws such as the Special Cybercrimes Act and Act 1055, which impede the exercise of public freedoms and thus run counter to Inter-American standards, and impose disproportionate penalties. The IACHR also voiced its concern over the deplorable conditions in which the accused are being detained and the serious decline in their health, especially in the case of older detainees, whose condition is reportedly critical.


This manipulation of criminal law and the criminalization of people who have been identified as dissidents in Nicaragua is the result of the lack of judicial independence and separation of the powers of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Judiciary. These act on the government's instructions in a way that clearly undermines the rule of law and democracy

Sources and further reading:

IACHR, “IACHR Condemns Manipulation of Criminal Law and Lack of Guarantees in Trials of Political Prisoners in Nicaragua" https://www.oas.org/en/IACHR/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2022/027.asp February 11, 2022.