PanamaTimes

Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024

Nicaragua strips 94 prominent dissidents of citizenship

Nicaragua strips 94 prominent dissidents of citizenship

A court in Nicaragua has stripped 94 dissidents of their citizenship.
Among those declared "traitors to the fatherland" are award-winning writer Sergio Ramírez, poet Gioconda Belli and Catholic bishop Silvio Báez.

All 94 are outspoken critics of President Daniel Ortega, who is in his fourth consecutive term in office.

They are the second group of government critics to have their citizenship revoked after 222 government critics had theirs rescinded last week.

Legal analysts have called the move a violation of international law.

Judge Ernesto Rodríguez said the 94 had carried out "criminal acts to the detriment of peace, sovereignty, independence and self-determination of the Nicaraguan people".

"Due to these facts, the accused can no longer be considered Nicaraguan citizens," he added and announced their properties in Nicaragua would be confiscated.

Many of those on the list of 94 are living abroad. The judge described them as "fugitives from justice" even though many of them left Nicaragua before any charges were levelled against them.

Author Sergio Ramírez, who won Spain's Cervantes Prize for literature in 2017, is one of those who has been living in exile in Spain.

Mr Ramírez was once a close ally of President Ortega and served as his vice-president during the president's first term in office from 1985 to 1990.

But he broke away from the Ortega-led Sandinista Party in 1995 in protest at what he said were Mr Ortega's "autocratic tendencies".

Mr Ramírez left Nicaragua in June 2021, amid a wave of arrests of opposition activists. Three months later, he was accused of inciting hatred and conspiring to destabilise Nicaragua.

Others stripped of their nationality on Wednesday are a former Nicaraguan ambassador who denounced his own government as a dictatorship and who has since been living in the US and the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, who has been living in Miami for almost three years.

The Central America office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the move and called on Nicaragua "to immediately cease persecution and reprisal".
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