Four opposition figures have been arrested in Nicaragua in what government critics have referred to as a hunt for critics of President Daniel Ortega.
Two of these detained on Tuesday are potential candidates within the election in November, by which Mr Ortega is predicted to run for a fifth time period.
Their arrests deliver the full of presidential hopefuls in detention to 4.
The US branded Mr Ortega “a dictator” following Tuesday’s arrests.
Who’s been detained?
In an area of 12 hours on Tuesday, the next opposition figures had been arrested:
Félix Maradiaga, tutorial and political activist who was planning to run as an opposition candidate within the presidential election
Juan Sebastián Chamorro, economist and presidential hopeful
José Adán Aguerri, economist and head of the Committee on Economic Integration
Violeta Granera, sociologist and opposition activist
Two extra presidential hopefuls – former ambassador Arturo Cruz and Cristiana Chamorro – had been detained prior to now week.
Ms Chamorro was charged with cash laundering days after saying that she would search to develop into the presidential candidate for the opposition Citizen’s Alliance.
She is seen by many within the opposition as their greatest hope of defeating Mr Ortega on the poll field. Her mom Violeta Chamorro beat him within the 1990 presidential ballot.
Ms Chamorro and Ms Granera are beneath home arrest, whereas Mr Chamorro and Mr Aguerri are in police detention.
A lawyer for Mr Maradiaga mentioned his shopper was being held at an undisclosed location and had been badly overwhelmed as he was taken into custody.
What are they accused of?
All of these detained, apart from Cristiana Chamorro, have been accused of plotting towards Nicaragua’s sovereignty and independence and of organising terrorist acts with monetary assist from international powers.
They have been detained beneath a controversial treason regulation handed in December by Nicaragua’s National Assembly, which is dominated by government allies.
What is the treason regulation?
Under the regulation, the government has the facility to ban candidates from operating for workplace if they’re deemed to be traitors to Nicaragua. Anyone designated a traitor may be despatched to jail for up to 15 years.
The government says the regulation goals to defend “the independence, the sovereignty and self-determination” of Nicaragua. It says the nation is beneath menace from imperialist powers within the US and “coup-mongers” inside Nicaragua who’re decided to overthrow President Ortega.
But critics say the regulation is designed to cease opposition politicians from standing within the election.
What response has there been?
Tweeting after Mr Maradiaga’s arrest, the highest US diplomat for Latin America, Julie Chung, mentioned the transfer “should resolve any remaining doubts about Ortega’s credentials as a dictator”.
José Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director for Human Rights Watch, additionally took to Twitter, saying: “In the last 30 years, I’ve never seen anything like it. Multilateral efforts are urgently needed to stop Ortega.”
Ms Chamorro’s brother, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, informed the BBC that Daniel Ortega was eradicating anybody who may problem him. “This is just an attack against basic rights of political competition. In the past he had several hundreds of political prisoners as hostages. Now he has captured four aspiring presidential candidates as hostages.”
Shortly earlier than being led away by police, Mr Maradiaga mentioned he wouldn’t quit preventing. “What we have done is fight alongside the Nicaraguan people, and we will continue to do so,” he mentioned.
Mr Chamorro vowed to resist in a video he recorded earlier than being summoned by the authorities: “This is a good fight, for good causes. Let’s not let a criminal dictatorship take away our rights any longer.”.
Who is Daniel Ortega?
President Ortega, 75, is predicted to search a fourth consecutive time period in November’s election. But opinion polls recommend his recognition has plummeted after the violent crackdown on anti-government protests in 2018 in which hundreds of people were killed.
The United States, the UK and the EU have imposed sanctions on Nicaraguan officers, whom they accuse of undermining democracy.
Nicaragua’s veteran chief
First took energy in 1979 as the pinnacle of the leftist Sandinista insurgent motion, ousting dictator Anastasio Somoza
Defeated in 1990 election by Violeta Chamorro after financial failures ensuing from US sanctions and conflict towards US-backed right-wing insurgent teams generally known as Contras – then loses two extra elections
Accused of sexual abuse by personal stepdaughter in 1998
Re-elected in 2006 after rebranding as Christian socialist
Allowed to stand for re-election in 2011 and 2016 following constitutional adjustments, and re-elected
Resisted calls to step down after violent suppression of rebellion in 2018