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The OAS demands from Ortega the “unconditional” freedom of prisoners in Nicaragua

 The Organization of American States (OAS) today approved a resolution to demand the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, the “unconditional release” before June 18 of all the imprisoned protesters, in compliance with the agreement in the dialogue with the opposition.

The initiative, promoted by Canada, was approved with the vote in favor of 20 of the 34 countries that are active members of the OAS (Cuba belongs to the organization but has not participated since 1962); while three opposed, including Nicaragua, ten abstained and the mission of Trinidad and Tobago was not present.

The resolution seeks to pressure Ortega to comply with the deadline agreed with the opposition to release before June 18 all anti-government protesters arrested in the context of the crisis that broke out in April 2018 and has left hundreds of deaths.

Specifically, the text urges the Nicaraguan Executive to proceed with “the unconditional release of all prisoners, before June 18, 2019, as agreed by the parties at the Table of Negotiation” and states that the “release must have independent monitoring and verification mechanisms “.

In response, Nicaragua’s deputy foreign minister, Valdrack Jaentschke, said his government has made “broad and clear demonstrations” of its “commitment” to the dialogue and affirmed that the activists who remain imprisoned “will be released on June 18 at take. “

He also recalled that on Monday Ortega released 100 protesters and ordered them to go into house arrest or other measures, which means that 132 prisoners are still imprisoned on the list recognized by the Executive, an amount lower than 809, which according to the opposition, they continue deprived of freedom.

The issue of the so-called “political prisoners” has become a point of friction in the negotiations between the Government and the opposition Civic Alliance, which began on February 27 and were suspended on April 3 and in which the General Secretariat of The OAS, led by Luis Almagro, has acted as guarantor and witness.

One of the events that has increased tensions was the death on the 16th of this month of the prisoner Eddy Montes, who died in the prison “La Modelo” in unclear circumstances.

In this regard, the head of the cabinet of Almagro, Gonzalo Koncke, considered “the highest priority” to investigate with “clarity” and “celerity” the death of Montes.

“From the General Secretariat we remember that it is necessary the release of all political prisoners, the total liberation of these people, beyond release and family coexistence,” said Koncke.

Diplomatic sources told Efe that precisely the resolution demanded that the release of prisoners be supervised with “independent mechanisms” with the objective that Ortega stops putting the prisoners under house arrest and releases them completely.

In fact, in the framework of the dialogue, it was agreed that the release would be supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); but that pact has not been fulfilled, according to the Civic Alliance.

Beyond asking for the release of the imprisoned protesters, the member states of the organization and the General Secretariat requested that measures be taken to hold “free, fair, transparent and legitimate” elections and freedom of expression and of the press are guaranteed, as well as the right to peaceful demonstration.

The resolution also urges Ortega to allow “safe return and stay, without reprisals, to all the people who were forced to leave Nicaragua.”

The session was attended by the Nicaraguan academician Félix Maradiaga, in exile in Costa Rica and whom the Executive considers as “intellectual leader” of a “coup d’état”.

Maradiaga assured Efe that he would return “immediately” to Nicaragua if he is guaranteed that he will not be persecuted for his political ideas.
The OAS began on January 11 the process to apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter to Nicaragua, which could open the door to its suspension from the agency.

The resolution establishes that the crisis in Nicaragua, which began on April 18, 2018 with protests against Ortega, should be addressed in the agenda of the General Assembly, the highest political forum of the organization to be held at the end of June in Medellín ( Colombia). (EFEUSA)

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