Three Nicaraguan opposition leaders accused of the crime of conspiracy to undermine national integrity, including Arturo Cruz, who aspired to be a candidate for the Presidency of Nicaragua in the last elections, will go from preventive detention to house arrest, reported this Saturday the Public ministry.
The decision comes after the death of the historic Sandinista fighter Hugo Torres, also accused of “treason against the fatherland”, who died last Saturday in police custody due to an “illness” not yet specified by the authorities.
The beneficiaries of the change from prison to home are, in addition to Cruz, 68, former Foreign Minister Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, 77, and former Vice Foreign Minister José Bernard Pallais Arana, 68.
In a statement, the Public Ministry of Nicaragua explained that it requested before the judicial authority the change of precautionary measures from preventive detention to house arrest with police custody of these three opponents for humanitarian reasons.
“The Public Ministry, having knowledge of the state of health of the aforementioned persons, for humanitarian reasons, asked the judicial authority to change the precautionary measure from preventive detention to house arrest, which was authorized by the corresponding judicial authority,” Indian.
The Prosecutor’s Office did not specify the health status of the three beneficiaries of the change in prison regime.
The relatives of the so-called “political prisoners” in Nicaragua launched an SOS last Monday after the death of Torres, 73, one of the most daring Sandinista guerrillas in the fight against the Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship, and who had been imprisoned since on June 13, 2021.
WHO ARE THE THREE OPPOSITORS?
In the case of Cruz, the relatives requested an “urgent” medical check-up, because during the trial he is facing they saw him thin, without courage, or strength, and with tremors, which makes them presume he is facing a progressive disease.
Cruz was a presidential candidate for the opposition Citizens for Freedom (CxL) alliance and was removed from the race with three months to go before the November 2021 elections.
He was ambassador to the United States between 2007 and 2009 of the Government of President Daniel Ortega, from whom he distanced himself, and was arrested in June 2021 by National Police agents at the Managua International Airport when he was returning from a tour of Washington.
For his part, Aguirre Sacasa, the second oldest opposition leader in prison (the first is former ambassador Edgar Parrales, 79), was a foreign minister during the Arnoldo Alemán administration (1997-2002), as well as the Nicaraguan ambassador to USA and opposition deputy between 2002 and 2007.
His son, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, creator of the American television series Riverdale, said that his relatives have seen how the detention of the former foreign minister “has affected his health” and asked the authorities that, due to his age and physical condition, “Commutate his sentence to the time he has already served in prison and allow him to return to his family, his wife, his children, and his young grandchildren.”
In the case of Pallais, the opposition movement to which he belongs has warned that his life “is at risk.”
According to the National Coalition, the health conditions of Pallais, a jurist who was deputy foreign minister during the government of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), “are heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, sleep apnea, glaucoma, and in the column”, which “makes up a picture of very high risk”.
Twenty-seven countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a statement on Friday in which they say they are “dismayed” by the death of Torres and demanded the “immediate” release of all political prisoners.