Managua, Mar 21 (EFE).- Nicaragua’s top opposition figure and former presidential hopeful Cristiana Chamorro Barrios was sentenced on Monday to eight years in prison for financial crimes.
Chamorro, a 68-year-old journalist who has been under house arrest since June 2, 2021, was sentenced by Judge Luden Martín Quiroz in Managua, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) reported in a statement.
The daughter of assassinated Nicaraguan hero and journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal and former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), Cristiana Chamorro was the favorite to win the Nov. 7 presidential election before her arrest in June.
With his main rivals in prison, Ortega was re-elected for his fifth term, fourth in a row and second along with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president.
The trial of Chamorro is part of a series of legal proceedings against at least 40 opposition leaders and critics of the government who were imprisoned prior to the election, clearing the way for Ortega’s win.
Their arrests have been denounced as politically motivated by the United States and international human rights groups.
The Prosecutor’s Office accused the opposition journalist in her capacity as director and founder of the NGO Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro based on a complaint from the Ministry of the Interior that she was allegedly laundering money through the NGO, which is dedicated to the protection and promotion of freedom of the press and expression.
The court also imposed a nine-year sentence on Chamorro’s older brother, opposition figure Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Barrios, 70.
The NGO’s accountant and financial administrator, Marcos Fletes and Walter Gómez, respectively, and driver Pedro Vásquez were accused of similar crimes and sentenced to prison.
Chamorro is the seventh presidential hopeful from the last election to be found guilty and sentenced for crimes of money laundering or treason.
Ortega has branded his opponents as “traitors to the country,” “criminals” and “sons of bitches of the Yankee imperialists.” EFE