Former legislator Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Barrios, the eldest son of former Nicaraguan President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and the Martyr of Public Liberties, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, was arrested Friday night, June 25, on charges of “carrying out acts that undermine the sovereignty of Nicaragua,” informed the Police acting under orders of Daniel Ortega.
Pedro Joaquin is the brother of presidential candidate, Cristiana Chamorro, who has been incommunicado under house arrest since June 2nd. He is also the brother of the journalist and director of Confidencial, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who announced this week that he had to leave the country to protect his physical integrity and that of his wife Desirée Elizondo, after the illegal search of their house on the evening of June 21st.
“A brigade of riot police arrived, between 30 and 50. They came looking for me, the objective was to capture me, detain a journalist, kidnap him, silence him,” said Carlos Fernando.
Accused of violating the regime’s catch-all “law”
According to the police statement Friday night, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Barrios is “being investigated, for carrying out acts that undermine the independence, sovereignty and self-determination [of Nicaragua], inciting foreign interference in internal affairs.”
In addition, the member of the Citizens for Freedom (CxL) party is accused of “requesting military interventions, organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization, proposing and managing economic, commercial and financial blockades against the country and its institutions, demanding, exalting and applauding the imposition of sanctions against the State of Nicaragua and its citizens, and damaging the supreme interests of the nation.”
Twenty-one arrests in the latest wave of repression
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Barrios is the 21st detainee of the Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo regime since a new escalation of repression began against opponents and independent journalists. In all, there are now over 140 political prisoners.
Between June 2 and 20, the Nicaraguan regime arrested and initiated arbitrary criminal proceedings against the presidential candidates: Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Felix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Miguel Mora.
Additionally, two former deputy foreign ministers, two historic Sandinista ex-guerrillas, a former business association leader, a banker, four activists, two former NGO workers, a sportswriter, a former congresswoman and a driver have also been arrested.
The relatives of the detained Ortega government opponents have denounced that the prison guards do not receive food for their relatives and that on some occasions request medicines. This situation causes them great anguish because they do not have the possibility of verifying the health status of their loved ones.
All those imprisoned – except for Cristiana Chamorro, under house arrest and investigated for the fabricated crime of money laundering – have been charged under the provisions of the catch-all Law 1055, “Law in Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty, and Self-determination for Peace”, which criminalizes all forms of opposition.
After 35 days of absence from public events, Daniel Ortega reappeared this week to deliver a speech lasting almost an hour in which he rebuked the international community in the face of demands for the release of political prisoners. He called these requests “absurd”, ensuring there will be no going back on what he called “legal proceedings for crimes of treason” and “money laundering”, against whom he described as “conspirators who were preparing a new coup.”