Release all detainees held arbitrarily, US urges Nicaragua

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Washington, Sep 8 (IANS) The US Department of State has demanded that the Nicaraguan government release “all persons arbitrarily detained”.

The US made that request in a statement on Friday, aimed at condemning the “arbitrary” arrest of six students, of whom five have been released, reports Efe news.

“We demand the release of all persons arbitrarily detained, and we also call on the (Daniel) Ortega Government to guarantee the safety of all those who choose to exercise their universal rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” said the spokeswoman for the Department of State Heather Nauert.

“All governments should promote democracy, good governance and human rights for the greater well-being of their citizens, we will continue to support the people of Nicaragua and we will make the Ortega Executive respond for their repression and violence.”

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The six students referred to in the State Department statement include: Ariana Moraga, Iskra Malespín, Judith Mairena, Gracia Rivera, Alejandro Centeno and Edwin Carcache, the latter a member of the opposition Civic Alliance and the only one remaining in the custody of the authorities.

For Nauert, these students are the “last example” of the thousands of people who have protested against Ortega, only to be “harassed, detained, disappeared or even killed”.

The protests against Ortega and against his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, began on April 18 amid failed social security reforms and became a demand for his resignation, after 11 years in power, with accusations of abuse of power and corruption.

The crisis, the most difficult in Nicaragua since the 1980s, has left between 322 and 448 dead, according to figures from humanitarian groups, while the government counts 198 fatalities.

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President Ortega denied that he had suppressed the protests with repression, and said he did not feel responsible for the deaths in the streets during the last months and blamed the US and drug traffickers for financing, supporting and arming violent groups.

–IANS

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