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Nicaraguan political prisoners continue hunger strike

Relatives are worried about the prisoners’ health. They denounce the isolation in El Chipote and retaliation in the La Modelo penitentiary

Twenty-four political prisoners in the La Modelo penitentiary and the El Chipote jail, continue on hunger strike and their health condition is uncertain for their relatives. They denounce that in El Chipote they receive no information and at the penitentiary, whether they protest or not, they all suffer reprisals from the guards.

Political prisoners Miguel Mendoza, Roger Reyes, Irving Larios and Dora Maria Tellez reported more than 10 days ago that they were beginning a hunger strike, demanding visits by their under-age children and an end to the prolonged solitary confinement to which they are subjected in El Chipote. Political prisoners in La Modelo also informed their beginning of an indefinite hunger strike, demanding “immediate and unconditional release” and, until that happens, better prison conditions.

Margin Pozo, wife of political prisoner Miguel Mendoza, stated in an interview with Confidencial, that “regrettably” they do not know the health condition of her partner, since they have not had a visit with him for more than a month. Despite the fact that every day they go to leave water for him and request information at the reception of El Chipote, “the officers say that they are not authorized” to inform them anything.

The sports commentator began a hunger strike 18 days ago, demanding that the Ortega regime allow his nine-year-old daughter be able to visit him. He has not seen her since the night of June 21, 2021, when he was arrested in his home and taken to El Chipote.

On September 21, relatives of Mendoza warned that “he is a chronic patient and has lost more than 30 pounds, so this action puts his health and life at risk.” Although they explained that he is “aware of the risks,” he “feels it is the only option left to him in his attempts to see his daughter again, after these 475 days that amount to more than 10,900 hours without being able to hug his little girl.”

“I am distressed, hoping that soon they allow another visit. Since September, they do not allow us to see our family members. Alejandra cries every day for him. She asks me when they will let her see her dad. She says that her heart suffers a lot and that she will not be well until she gives her father a hug,” said Pozo.

She explained that as a family they have consulted with a diabetologist on the repercussions that Miguel could have due to the hunger strike he is carrying out, as a protest for the forced separation from his daughter, and he warned them that since he is “a diabetic patient, the low sugar levels, from not eating, could cause him to faint.”

Roger Reyes’ daughters cry for not seeing their father

Fernanda Guevara, wife of Roger Reyes, regretted that due to “the solitary confinement system” to which the prisoners of conscience in El Chipote are subjected, which does not have a calendar establishing visits, “we do not know anything about my husband’s health condition.”

“In reception they never give us information, so, until I see my husband I will know about his health, meanwhile here we are worried, because we do not know if he has been ill because of this hunger strike,” she complained.

She explained that her partner told her that if by September 20 they did not authorize his daughters to visit, he was going to begin a hunger strike, demanding the right to see them and to have communication with his three and five year-old little girls, whom he has not seen for more than a year.

Reyes’ daughters do not know that their father has been imprisoned by the regime since August 20, 2021. Guevara said that they only know, because on weekends they accompany her to leave water, that their father in that building, in El Chipote, “but they do not know that he is being held hostage there.”

“My daughters do not know that he is a prisoner there, they only know that he is inside, that is all they know, and there is always crying because they cannot go in to see him,” she regretted.

Regarding the health situation of political prisoner Dora Maria Tellez, former Sandinista guerrilla and member of the Union for Democratic Renewal (UNAMOS), who has been on a hunger strike since September 23, members of the political organization to which she belongs said they have no further information. Additionally, we called and sent messages to relatives of political prisoner Irving Larios, who has been on hunger strike for twelve days, but at the time of the publication of this report they have not responded.

Reprisals a prisoners at La Modelo

Relatives of political prisoners at La Modelo also denounced in an interview with Confidencial that, after the announcement of a hunger strike made by some prisoners of conscience, all those deprived of freedom for political reasons have suffered reprisals from prison authorities.

Some of the repressive actions carried out by officials at La Modelo included abusive searches of the political prisoners’ cells and threats of moving them to punishment cells.

“Since Tuesday we know that they have been searching the cells of our political prisoners. They enter at any time they want, sometimes in the early morning, throw everything on the floor, food is tampered with, and they are threatened. They are told that they will be taken to punishment cells if they go on hunger strike,” denounced the relative of a political prisoner at La Modelo.

Another relative of a political prisoner explained that last week his family member confirmed that the strike “continues” despite the reprisals they have been victims of. She explained that the political prisoner was subjected to an abusive search of his cell, guards threw away all his supplies and warned him that if he continued on hunger strike he would be taken to a punishment cell known as “the 300.”

Relatives of political prisoners at La Modelo who are not participating in the hunger strike also expressed concern for the measures taken by prison officials, since they point out, “they are going against everyone, whether they are on strike or not, they even force them to eat from plastic bags, take their photographs at lunch time, trying to disprove those who say they are on strike.”

The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo keeps more than 200 people incarcerated for political reasons in Nicaragua. Relatives have denounced that inside the different cells of the country, prisoners of conscience suffer torture and mistreatment. They are subjected to inhumane prison conditions, which are contrary to international standards, since they are denied visits with their children, they are denied access to specialized medical care, to reading and writing materials, visits are restricted as is access to sun in the patio, as different methods of torture.

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

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