Nicaraguan Police Arrest Six More Opposition Leaders in Sweeping Crackdown

Nicaraguan police have arrested six more opposition figures, including the sixth presidential candidate, on July 5 in a sweeping crackdown ahead of the November elections.

According to a statement quoted by CNN, police detained presidential candidate Medardo Mairena, farmers’ groups leaders Pedro Mena, Freddy Navas, and Pablo Morales for allegedly committing “homicides, robbery with intimidation and kidnappings, extortion, rape, and caused destruction and widespread damage” during the anti-government protests in 2018.

Police also detained student leaders Lesther Aleman and Max Jerez for allegedly committing “robbery with assault, kidnappings, caused serious injuries, rape, extortion, destruction, and widespread damage” during the 2018 protests.

The Peasant Movement of Nicaragua said on Twitter that the government “kidnapped” its leaders, denouncing the accusations as “ridiculous.”

Ahead of his arrest, Navas had uploaded a video of himself indicating that his detention would be politically motivated.

“If you are watching this video it is because they took me, because I am already in prison, because I am detained. One way or another I am prepared,” Navas said in the video, as quoted by CNN.

Nicaraguan authorities have arrested at least 27 opposition figures since last month, including six potential candidates for the presidential elections in November under the controversial “treason” law passed last December.

European Union High Representative Josep Borrell condemned the “repressive actions” by Nicaraguan authorities and called for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

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