Nicaragua orders citizenship revocation of 222 political prisoners sent to US

Tegucigalpa/Washington, Feb 10 (EFE).- Nicaraguan authorities on Friday ordered the stripping of the citizenship of 222 political prisoners who were expelled to the United States, according to a ruling by the Managua appeals court.

“We have ordered the stripping of Nicaraguan nationality of 222 people who were declared traitors to the country,” the court ruling said.

The resolution, read by magistrate Octavio Rothschuh of Chamber One of the appeals court, indicated that the decision was based on the “Special Law that governs the stripping of Nicaraguan nationality,” which was approved and published Friday in the Official Gazette.

“Hence, the stripping of nationality of 222 traitors to the homeland was in strict compliance with Law 1145, which we will continue to apply in full force,” the court said.

Prior to this special law, Nicaragua’s parliament approved in its first legislature an amendment to the constitution to strip citizens convicted of crimes considered “treason against one’s country” of their nationality.

That amendment still must be approved in a second legislature for it to enter into force next year, the president of the parliament, Gustavo Porras, explained Friday on the country’s Channel 4 television.

The constitutional amendment and the special law were approved the same day that the 222 Nicaraguan political prisoners, including opposition leaders, journalists, priests and critics of the government of President Daniel Ortega, were released and expelled to the US on Thursday.

The prisoners, among them seven who sought to run against Ortega for the presidency in the last election, were permanently disqualified from public office, other elected offices, and their citizen rights were suspended for life, according to the court sentence issued on Thursday.

The Political Constitution of Nicaragua establishes in its article 20, which has not been amended, that “no national can be deprived of his nationality. The status of Nicaraguan national is not lost by the acquisition of another nationality.”

Nicaragua has been experiencing political and social crises since April 2018, which worsened after the controversial general elections of Nov. 7, 2021, in which Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, fourth in a row and second together with his wife Rosario Murillo as vice president, with his main contenders put in prison or fleeing into exile.

The Organization of American States has demanded that the Ortega government in Nicaragua restore the rights of the 222 political prisoners.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter Friday that “Following the release of 222 Nicaraguan political prisoners yesterday, today I spoke with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Moncada about the importance of constructive dialogue toward building a better future for the Nicaraguan people.”

The US has sanctioned hundreds of people linked to the Ortega government and had been asking Nicaragua for months to release the political prisoners, whose repression by the authorities has greatly strained relations between the two nations.

“Ortega’s corrupt security and judicial system arrested these individuals for practicing independent journalism, working for civil society organizations, seeking to compete in elections, and publicly expressing an opinion contrary to government orthodoxy, among other activities considered normal in a free society,” Blinken said in January 2022 in an announcement of visa restrictions “on 116 individuals complicit in undermining democracy in Nicaragua.”

On Friday, the 222 prisoners were welcomed to the US, where they received a humanitarian permit that will allow them to live and work in the country. EFE


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