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Dora Maria Tellez Begins Hunger Strike in El Chipote Jail

The former guerrilla commander demands an end to solitary confinement, constant interrogations and that she be allowed access to reading material

The political prisoner, historian and former guerrilla commander, Dora Maria Tellez, began a hunger strike to demand an end to her solitary confinement and the torture to which she has been subjected for more than 15 months at the infamous El Chipote jail in Managua. She demands access to reading material and also to be allowed to sign a power of attorney for her relatives to withdraw her retirement pension, sources linked to human rights organizations assured.

Declaring a hunger strike poses a risk to her already deteriorated health, evidenced on August 31, when she was presented in the government media going to a bogus “informational hearing” in a Managua court.

The Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders warned that before Tellez started the hunger strike she had already lost more than 15% of her body mass. “Maintaining a hunger strike, even if it is partial, can lead to an even more serious decline in her health, putting her life at risk,” the organization stressed.

The NGO expresses that submitting to a hunger strike “is a desperate action” to which political prisoners resort due to “the absolute refusal on the part of the authorities to listen to their legitimate demands and guarantee their human rights, which are inalienable and remain in force even when imprisoned.

The former Minister of Health, who has been subjected to constant interrogations in prison, looked pale, aged and extremely thin. On September 17, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) warned that Tellez’s life “is in danger”, due to her advanced age -66 years- and the serious physical deterioration that she has experienced for more than a year of prison.

“Since the last time we saw her in the show that the Ortega-Murillo regime called ‘informative hearings’, 17 days have passed (now 23) and we don’t know anything about her,” Cenidh warned. “On that occasion we were able to verify her physical deterioration, the mark of her torture on her visibly pale, weak, and thin body. How can a person in that state and at that age continue to resist?” the organization questioned.

Tellez was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly “conspiring to undermine national integrity to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua and Nicaraguan society.”

Another political prisoner on hunger strike

On Wednesday, September 21, the sportswriter and political prisoner, Miguel Mendoza, also began a hunger strike demanding the Ortega regime allow him a visit by his nine-year-old daughter, whom he has not seen since the night of June 21, 2021, prior to his detention in the El Chipote prison, where he has been kept ever since.

Previously, the political prisoner Tamara Davila and journalist Miguel Mora, also declared a hunger strike. Davila demanding that the Ortega regime allow the visit of her six-year-old daughter and Mora his 21-year-old son, whom they had not seen for more than a year. The meeting took place on Saturday August 20th at El Chipote.

The relatives of the political prisoner Suyen Barahona, president of the Unamos party, started a campaign on social networks, called “A call for Suyen”, demanding that the Daniel Ortega regime allow communication with her five year son, whom she has not heard from or seen since her abduction on June 13, 2021, more than 15 months ago.

The government is responsible for political prisoners

Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders supports the “legitimate demands of Dora María Tellez”, expressing their concern for her state of health and its evolution. They hold the Nicaraguan State responsible for “any harm to the integrity and life” of Tellez, stated an alert published on their website.

At the same time, the HR defenders demanded Tellez’s release and that until this is granted, that they send her to “house arrest”, as was done with other elderly political prisoners and those with health conditions similar to those of the former guerrilla commander.

At present, the Ortega-Murillo regime holds 13 political prisoners totally isolated under “house arrest” with permanent police surveillance inside and outside their homes, while those in El Chipote have been shown only once in 15 months in prison.

According to the group Mechanism for the recognition of political prisoners in Nicaragua, there are currently 205 such prisoners in the different jails of the country.

https://mailchi.mp/confidencial.digital/englishnewsletterform

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times


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