Brutal retaliation by Daniel Ortega: he sentenced the entire family of an opponent to jail whom he could not capture

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The Sandinista regime began a new pattern of repression: taking family members hostage to capture the opponents it persecutes

Brutal retaliation by Daniel Ortega: he sentenced the entire family of an opponent he couldn't capture to jail

By

Fabián Medina Sánchezfrom Managua, Nicaragua

Brutal retaliation by Daniel Ortega: he sentenced the entire family of an opponent he couldn't capture to jail

“I am devastated,” says Javier Álvarez, a Nicaraguan opposition member, from exile. (Photo Oscar Navarrete/La Prensa)

This week, Judge Félix Ernesto Salmerón confirmed the sentence of between 8 and 10 years in prison against Jeannine Horvilleur Cuadra, of 63 years old; her daughter, Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur , 43 years old, and her son-in-law Félix Roiz Sotomayor , 57 years old, who were arrested on September 13 in one of the cruelest reprisals carried out by the Daniel Ortega regime in Nicaragua.

The Nicaraguan police arrested the Álvarez family – Horvilleur – Roiz after he failed to capture opponent Javier Álvarez Zamora that nightwho, warned of the Ortega regime's intentions, was leaving the country through blind spots at the time. Álvarez Zamora is the husband, father and father-in-law of those convicted by Judge Salmerón.

With the capture of this entire family, the Nicaraguan regime began another stage in its repressive escalation: taking hostages to relatives to achieve the capture of the opponents that he persecutes.

“I think that having captured them is such a big aberration, because they are entering the most intimate part of your family. That is the most sacred thing a person has. This is a new step. They go up. They are going up the stop. They are reaching a point where they destroy or attempt to destroy the most intimate or sacred thing that a person can have,” said Álvarez, after arriving on Costa Rican soil and hearing about the arrest of his relatives.

The detained family remained in a disappeared condition for about 48 hours as no authorities were aware of their whereabouts. It was on a second visit to El Chipote prison., where 59 political prisoners are being held, which one of the jailers confirmed was there. “Here we have them and we are not going to release them until the son-of-such-and-such shows up here,” Javier Álvarez recounts that they told a relative, making a clear allusion to their delivery.

< p class="paragraph">“There is a new pattern of repression,” says Gonzalo Carrión, human rights defender from the Nunca Más collective. husband; they have stopped parents, to reach the son; sons have been detained to capture the father. Generally they are detained for hours or a day, but this was the entire family: the wife, daughter and son-in-law. That has a grotesque dimension.”

Dulce Porras, exiled and leader of the opposition Unión Democrática Renovadora (Unamos), denounced that the police of the Daniel Ortega regime captured her brother, Freddy Porras, when they did not find her on the night of September 15, in the city of Jinotepe.

Another case is that of Andrea Margarita del Carmen, a former employee of the PEN Nicaragua center, whose son, Gabriel López del Carmen, 34, was arrested on September 14 when the Police came looking for her and did not find her at home. Like Álvarez, the police warned relatives that the young man would be released if his mother turned herself in.

Brutal retaliation by Daniel Ortega: he sentenced the entire family of an opponent he couldn't capture to jail

Félix Roiz Sotomayor and his wife Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur. On the right, Jeannine Horvilleur Cuadra. The three captured and sentenced by the Daniel Ortega regime. (Courtesy photo)

Álvarez's family was convicted of the crimes of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity and/or propagation of false news through information and communication technologies to the detriment of the State and Nicaraguan society.”

Álvarez cannot explain why so much viciousness against him. He claims to be only “a low-profile opponent”, who from time to time helped political prisoners or persecuted families. “My life and my political activity is peaceful, it is civic and it is humanitarian,” he affirms.

The opponent is a former militant of the Sandinista Front, the political party that brought Daniel Ortega to power. “I was part of the Sandinista Front. I fought against the dictatorship (of Somoza). I was in the insurrection. More like a political activity than as a guerrilla. I have been in the Front since 1975. I am from the generation of young people who came out of religious schools, who, driven by their religious and democratic ideas, first organized ourselves in the Revolutionary Christian Movement. From there we went to the Sandinista Front. I was twice captured by the Somoza dictatorship,” he recounted in an interview with the newspaper La Prensa.

He states that he left the Sandinista Front in 1995, when he saw that Ortega led him “on the wrong path.” Since then, he says, he dedicated himself to survival and together with his wife they promised not to get involved in politics anymore. Everything changed, however, with the citizen rebellion of 2018.

“When the days of the 18th take place, I go to the Bautista hospital, of my own free will, because I realize that they are taking the injured boys and I begin to bond with them, to bring them things, medicines, food, what they need. I establish a human relationship because I knew what it was like to be in those circumstances. This is how I am opposition. I am not linked to a specific organization, my job has been to help the most needy people. That is why I declare myself an opponent with a humanitarian activism”.

He believes that he became a target of the regime when, possibly, they found his contact on the phones of some of the captured people he occasionally helped. Then he began to see that his house was being watched and that is why he decided to leave the house where he lived with his wife, Jeannine Horvilleur, on September 12.

The next day, on the night of September 13, a police contingent came to look for him at the house of his daughter, Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur. At that moment, only his son-in-law, Félix Roiz, husband of Ana Carolina, is in the house, and they take him into custody.

Police patrols move around eleven at night to Álvarez's house, where they only find his wife and the daughter who is accompanying her. Both are apprehended.

Warned that they are looking for him, Javier Álvarez decides to go to Costa Ricathrough blind spots in the mountains, unaware that his family is imprisoned. “I don't realize that they have been detained. I think what always happens will happen. They arrive, they destroy the house, they kick in the door, they break a table, they break something, they sit the family down, they interrogate them, at most they take them somewhere, they keep them there all night and the next day they release them. Until then, that had been the attitude of the repression in Nicaragua,” he recounted.

Brutal retaliation by Daniel Ortega: he sentenced the entire family of an opponent he could not capture to jail

“Take this photo of me so they can see that I'm already out of Nicaragua and that it doesn't make sense that they have kidnapped my family,” Javier Álvarez asked Oscar Navarrete, a photographer for La Prensa.

“It was to leave my life in hours The night before we could be watching a Netflix movie, the two of us in bed together, and suddenly know that you have to leave your country, that you have to leave your family and you have to leave her, being as attached as we are. It is a very hard blow, “she added.

Jeannine Horvilleur Cuadra and her daughter, Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur, were sentenced on January 18 to eight years in prison in a closed-door trial. Félix Roiz Sotomayor, received a sentence of 10 years. Judge Félix Ernesto Salmerón also ordered the seizure of Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur's truck.

Both Jeannine Horvilleur Cuadra and Ana Carolina Álvarez Horvilleur have French citizenship In addition to the Nicaraguan On January 19, five French organizations that defend human rights or solidarity with Nicaragua denounced the political condemnation of these two women “for the sole reason that they (and he) are respectively the wife, daughter and son-in-law of Javier Álvarez, political opponent persecuted by the dictatorship”.

“Although they are French-Nicaraguan, Jeanine Horvilleur and her daughter Ana Carolina have not been allowed the right to consular visits. For this reason, we ask the French authorities to intervene as soon as possible to obtain their release and that of Félix Roiz, that the charges against them be dropped and that they be granted political asylum,” the statement said.

This Friday, the French government expressed its concern about the sentence and the conditions in which the French citizens have been processed.

“We deplore the fact that, despite several petitions to the Nicaraguan authorities, our ambassador has not been allowed access to the trial, just as we regret the lack of transparency around this trial, since the hearings were held behind closed doors”, declared the spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry Agnès von der Mühll to the AFP agency.

“We also remain very concerned about the conditions of imprisonment and the state of health of our compatriots, in particular because, despite our repeated requests, our emb Ajada has not yet been able to access them, as established in the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations″, he added.

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