Report to the Midyear Meeting 2023
April, 25-27

The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo intensified its attacks against freedom of the press and expression during this period.

In the context of the "electoral campaign" and the holding of municipal votes, the number of political prisoners increased, the cancellation of non-governmental organizations, property theft, and censorship.

At the beginning of the year, the conditions for visits to political prisoners that had been characterized as violating national and international standards improved, a strategy before the deportation of 222 political prisoners on February 9.

The regime expelled 222 political prisoners and stripped them of their nationality. Six days later, it denied another 94 people of their nationality, including ten journalists, who remain in the country.

The 316 people had their properties stolen, their bank accounts closed, their pension payments denied, and their records erased, which was called the "civil death" of those affected. The regime continued the judicial processes against the "dispossessed." Under these conditions, he sentenced Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, who is in the Jorge Navarro Penitentiary System, better known as "La Modelo," to 26 years in prison.

At the international level, the United Nations Group of Experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua denounced these new strategies of the regime to violate fundamental rights and considered that, due to the cruelty and systematization of the facts, they fall into the category of " Crimes against humanity."

Since 2018, more than 185 communicators have been forced into exile, 21 during this semester.

Journalists, human rights defenders, and activists seeking refuge in Costa Rica saw their right to mobility affected by a decree limiting their travel ability.

In this period, 55 attacks were registered; four against media and 51 against natural persons.

In October, the "electoral campaign" took place amid misinformation. Citizens were unaware of the candidates in the alleged contest. The regime included media outlets and journalists, subject to the 2022 Electoral Ethics Regulations.

Article 9 of that regulation threatens the media for committing an electoral crime if "distorted use of propaganda, colors, emblems, insignia, slogans, logos, and any party identification... to harm, defame or to denigrate the emblems, symbols, and colors of a political party or political party alliance".

As another sign of the fall of institutionality, the National Assembly approved a reform to the Law Creating the National Cinematheque, giving itself powers to authorize or limit audiovisual productions.

In October, through the Cybercrime Law, 13 people were charged for the alleged conspiracy crimes to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news.

In December, the regime detained two journalists who worked for the Diocese of Matagalpa, confirming that journalists and Catholic religious are two of the most vulnerable sectors.

According to a study by lawyer Martha Patricia Molina, from 2018 to 2022, the regime carried out 190 attacks against the Catholic Church.

The attacks on the Catholic Church escalated when the regime announced the "suspension of relations" with the Holy See. The hostilities against the Church included attacks, hate messages, desecration, and robberies, among others, as well as obstacles to NGOs.

Holy Week was celebrated without the usual processions, due to the regime's prohibition and the police siege, especially in Matagalpa.

In April, the Blue and White Monitoring organization, which reports complaints of police repression and arbitrary arrests throughout the country, recorded 21 arrests, the majority of parishioners who wanted to participate in Holy Week activities.

There were also 71 incidents related to human rights violations, including threats from the Police and sympathizers of the dictatorship, arbitrary arrests, sieges of Catholic churches, and harassment of opponents in front of their homes.

On April 11, the Congregation of Trappist Sisters denounced that officials from the Ministry of the Interior (Migob) informed the bishop of the Diocese that their headquarters in San Pedro de Lóvago, Chontales, would pass to the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA).

On April 12, two Hermanas Dominicas de la Anunciata congregation nuns were expelled from Nicaragua to Costa Rica.