Nicaraguan authorities have adopted a strategy of repression, characterized by the excessive use of force, extrajudicial executions, control of the media, and the use of pro-government armed groups, to crush protests in which at least 81 people have been killed, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.
“The Nicaraguan authorities have turned on their own people in a vicious, sustained and frequently lethal assault on their rights to life, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The government of President Ortega has then shamelessly tried to cover up these atrocities, violating the victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“The state must immediately stop repressing the people who protest, particularly young students, and respect their right to criticize public policies. Instead of criminalizing them, the government of President Ortega must allow an international commission to be established to carry out a prompt, impartial and effective investigation, and, where appropriate, bring charges against all those suspected of committing or ordering extrajudicial executions or the excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations and crimes under international law.”
The demonstrations, mostly led by students, began on 18 April in response to government reforms that hiked worker and employer social security contributions, while cutting benefits. As of 28 May, at least 81 people had been killed, 868 injured and 438 arrested amidst the state’s heavy-handed and highly coordinated response to the protests.
Amnesty International documents the Nicaraguan police’s use of lethal weapons, the large numbers of people injured by firearms, the trajectory of shots fired, the concentration of bullet wounds in the head, neck and chest of those killed, and attempts to obstruct justice and cover up the nature of the killings. These patterns have led the organization to conclude that there is evidence that police and pro-government armed groups committed multiple extrajudicial executions.
In an interview with Amnesty International, Dr. Vilma Núñez, director of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, stated:
“the police began firing rubber bullets, but the violence escalated the next day. On 19 April there were several deaths. Daniel [Ortega] could have stopped the repression that day, but he did not. The next day the police fired live rounds. The order was to kill.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 19th, 2018