MANAGUA – Students from the Faculty of Humanities and Legal Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua) demanded freedom on Tuesday for their fellow students who had been arrested when participating in anti-government protests.
“We join our voices to demand the freedom of our comrades who join the list of political prisoners,” the students said Tuesday in a statement.
Dozens of students from state and private universities nationwide have been arrested by police for demonstrating against the administration of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Humanitarian organizations and legal experts called the detention of these students “kidnappings” as they have not committed any crime.
These protests were part of national political unrest that has left between 277-351 people dead.
The case of the students from the UNAN-Managua, the largest university in Nicaragua, has drawn much attention as they were attacked with war weapons by the “combined forces” of the government when demonstrating on their campus, resulting in two fatalities.
The UNAN-Managua students also expressed their solidarity with the family of Rayneia Lima, a medical student from the American University (UAM) who was “murdered by parapolice groups in the service of the Ortega-Murillo,” according to the statement.
Nicaragua is going through its bloodiest crisis since the 1980s, during which Daniel Ortega was also the country’s president.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have accused the Nicaraguan government of “murders, extrajudicial executions, ill-treatment, possible acts of torture and arbitrary detentions,” which Ortega has denied.
The protests against Ortega and his wife began on April 18 due to failed social security reforms and descended into a national demand for his resignation. President Ortega has been in power for 11 years with numerous accusations of abuse and corruption.