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LatinNews Daily - 11 October 2021

US senators call for release of political prisoners in Nicaragua

Nicaragua: On 30 September, US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, and 14 other senators addressed a bipartisan letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling for increased efforts to “urgently” secure the “immediate release of political prisoners”. The letter more generally called for the US administration led by President Joe Biden, which has so far imposed visa restrictions and asset freezes on targeted individuals in response to human rights concerns ahead of the election, to expand its use of sanctions under tools such as the 2018 Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (Nica Act), which seeks to condition loans from international financial institutions to the Ortega government to US approval. According to the letter Ortega’s National Assembly has legalised arbitrary detention, enacted abusive legislation that restricts freedom of expression and the work of independent human rights organisations, continued its attacks on press freedom, and is ratifying a new agreement with Russia to censor the internet”. Signatories recommended suspending Nicaragua from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the US-Dominican Republic-Central America free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR), and called for the November election to be condemned as illegitimate “unless the opposition presidential candidates are released from detention, their parties are re-registered, and they are together allowed to nominate an opposition presidential candidate” to run in November.

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