May 30, 2023

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Nicaraguan opposition leader Suazo sentenced to 10 years in jail: group

Nicaraguan opposition leader Suazo sentenced to 10 years in jail: group

Nicaraguan opposition leader Yubrank Suazo, who took part in protests against President Daniel Ortega’s government in 2018, was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in prison, his group said.

A court in the capital Managua sentenced Suazo to five years in jail for “conspiring to undermine national integrity” and another five years for spreading fake news, according to the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, where he served as a director.

Suazo was “prosecuted and sentenced without having committed any crime, nor having any link with criminal structures,” the group said in a statement.

The 31-year-old hails from the southern city of Masaya, which was shaken by large anti-government protests in 2018.

The city had declared itself in rebellion against ex-guerrilla Ortega’s government as part of massive nationwide street protests.

The government’s crackdown on the demonstrations left 355 dead.

Suazo was detained in 2018 but released in 2019 as part of an agreement with the government mediated by the Catholic Church, which also saw several hundred other opposition figures freed.

But in May Suazo was arrested again and put on trial.

A Nicaraguan NGO campaigning for political prisoners says about 190 opposition figures have been detained.

About 45 opposition figures, including seven presidential hopefuls, were arrested last year ahead of elections in which Ortega benefitted from the lack of credible opposition to win a fourth successive term.

They were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison for allegedly undermining national security.

Ortega accuses his opponents of trying to oust him with help from the United States, which has hit him and his inner circle with sanctions.

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