Nicaraguan Police Arrest Third Potential Presidential Opponent to Daniel Ortega

Nicaraguan police on June 8 arrested a third potential opponent to President Daniel Ortega in the presidential elections later this year.

Police arrested Felix Maradiaga after being summoned to the public prosecutor’s office.

According to Maradiaga’s campaign, police stopped him and his lawyer in their car after they had left the office.

In a statement, police said Maradiaga is under investigation “for carrying out acts that undermine independence, sovereignty, and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs, and calling for military interventions.”

Authorities also accused Maradiaga of using “financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization.”

Maradiaga is viewed as a likely candidate for the Blue and White National Unity coalition for the Nov. 7 presidential elections while Ortega is seeking for a fourth consecutive term.

Before his arrest, Maradiaga told reporters that authorities held him in a four-hour long interrogation about his activities when he was the former director of a nongovernmental economic research group, if he had links to drug traffickers, and if he had requested the U.S. to impose sanctions against Nicaragua.

Maradiaga said he had requested the sanctions “not to punish the people, but rather government officials who have committed crimes against humanity.”

Maradiaga’s arrest follows the arrests of former ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Cruz Sequeira and opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro in the span of a week.

Upon his arrival at the Managua airport from the U.S. last June 5, police arrested Sequeira under a controversial “treason” law that Ortega’s government passed last December.

Last June 2, police placed Chamorro under house arrest on charges of money laundering, which she denies.

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