Nicaragua: an amnesty law criticized by the opposition

Listen to this article

With great criticism from the opposition, an amnesty law was passed in the Parliament of Nicaragua dominated by a Sandinista majority

Nicaragua: an amnesty law criticized by the opposition

On Saturday, June 8, the Amnesty Law in the Nicaraguan parliament was approved, whose main function is to grant "broad amnesty to all persons who have participated in the events that occurred throughout the national territory from April 18, 2018, until the date", as France 24 review.

Leer en español: Nicaragua: una ley de amnistía criticada por la oposición

The approval happened after only one day of session in which the ruling party presented and defended the law, an attitude evident by the 70 votes in favor made by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). It should also be noted that the Law was raised with the argument that the protests had been an attempted coup, therefore, in this logic, those captured are "criminals" before the authorities.

More specifically, the law establishes that all those involved in these captures are free of charges, both those that have not yet been investigated and those that are in the process of investigation or already serving a sentence. Also, according to El País, the amnesty regulations establish that the beneficiaries of the amnesty must "refrain from perpetrating new acts that incur repetitive behaviors that generate crimes under the law."

On Tuesday after the implementation of the Law, 56 of the political prisoners were released, according to the BBC, from the 221 registered by the opposition or the 142 declared by the government. For the Sandinista government, these people were caught for being "accused of crimes against common security and public tranquility."

It is worth remembering that this amnesty law is framed in the protests that have taken the streets of the country since April 2018, which was born from a discontent with a reform of social security without the consensus of the population. According to El País, after a month, "Ortega ordered to attack a massive march organized on mothers' day, causing at least 15 deaths, and in June launched the so-called Operación Limpieza, with hundreds of hooded men who attacked with weapons of war the opposition strongholds ", in addition to the expropriated media and imprisoned journalists.

So far, recounts France 24, 325 people have died during the protests in which they have captured at least 700, to which must be added the more than 60,000 exiles since the conflict began. In addition, it must be borne in mind that Ortega has only recognized 200 victims of everything previously reported.

You may be interested in: Nicaragua: Ortega vs. the opposition

Voices for and against

As expected, those who are satisfied with the amnesty are mainly members of the ruling party. For example, legislator Edwin Castro, a figure of the FSLN, affirmed that the Law is "a sovereign act that seeks peace, reconciliation, that seeks forgiveness with justice, with reparation, with no repetition", reflected France 24.

However, the majority, ranging from the liberated to international figures, reject this amnesty, since they consider it a way to leave unpunished both the military and 'extragovernmental' forces that have been the main agents of violence throughout the crisis.

One of the released, the student Hansell Vásquez, is among the dissatisfied. According to El País, the student said: "I came out of that hell that is La Modelo, but we feel disappointed because the country is more incarcerated than when we fell prisoners, the conditions at this time are worse". For him, the Law "We did not need it because we have not committed any of the crimes he [Ortega] says, we are worried because he wants to leave all state terrorism, murders, all the tortures, disappearances committed by his paramilitaries and his institutions of repression, such as the National Police".

The concern for impunity and the 'clean slate' from which the paramilitaries would benefit also comes from the opposition political class. We find statements such as those of Azucena Castillo, deputy of the Constitutionalist Liberal Party, who declared "it is time to leave the true culprits in impunity and take out an amnesty law that, with a clean slate, we will bring life back to the 300 mothers who have lost their children", to which he added about the injustice of the process that "there are people accused of terrorism, then what are they talking about, when the real terrorists are the ones who killed, the repressors, the paramilitaries who were on the street," according to France 24.

Likewise, organizations such as the Commission for the Release of Political Prisoners share the same feeling for the impunity involved, since, as spokesman Daniel Esquivel told BBC World, "we reject that self-amnesty law because they (the government) What they are thinking about is the impunity of the people who tortured and killed Nicaraguans for exercising their right to protest".

A similar opinion has those of Penal Action, a group of lawyers in favor of political prisoners, who assured that this law "constitutes a political strategy to benefit people who are not being prosecuted or investigated, but who could possibly have incurred crimes in the context of the political crisis ", according to Infobae.


Finally, voices of great weight within the international human rights panorama also spoke. Among these is Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said that "amnesties for serious human rights violations are prohibited by international law." These generate impunity, which may lead to more violations. " With the same intention, José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch in the Americas, said in a tweet that "The purpose is obviously to try to consolidate the regime's impunity."


LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra

Translated from "Nicaragua: una ley de amnistía criticada por la oposición"

We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…