Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Edgard Parrales was picked up by unidentified men near his home in Managua, said his wife and a rights observer.

Nicaragua’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States – who was critical of President Daniel Ortega – was detained in Managua, according to his wife and a human rights observer.

Edgard Parrales was picked up by identified men near his home on Monday, his wife, Carmen Dolores Cordova, and Vilma Nunez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, said.

“They caught him at his house, they were not policemen in uniform but two people in civilian clothes who took him away by car,” Nunez said.

Parrales was one of only a handful of political analysts willing to openly criticize Ortega, who has been accused of widespread repression in recent months.

He described Ortega’s announcement as “nonsense” plan to withdraw of the OAS, a regional body that accused Ortega’s government of acts of repression and of election manipulation earlier this month.

“It’s not that easy to get out of the OAS,” Parrales said. “It takes two years before it takes effect, during which Nicaragua is still bound by the statutes to respect human rights.”

Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the American division of Human Rights Watch, condemned the detention.

“Ortega’s message is clear: He’s going after anyone who criticizes him,” Vivanco said on Twitter.

Ortega was elected to a fourth consecutive term in elections that were broadly if convicted unlawfully after seven probable challengers were arrested and jailed before the vote.

The OAS General Assembly voted to condemn the elections, saying they were “not free, fair or transparent, and have no democratic legitimacy”.

Twenty-five countries in the Americas voted in favor of the resolution, while seven – including Mexico – abstained. Only Nicaragua voted against it.

Ortega’s ruling Sandinista Front and its allies control Congress and all government institutions.

Ortega first served as president from 1985 to 1990, following the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Somoza family dictatorship, before returning to power in 2007.

But critics say Ortega’s rule has begun to look like the government he opposed. It was especially on display during protests against the government in 2018, which saw a violent repression by security forces and pro-government armed groups. Numerous protesters were arrested and more than 300 people were killed during the riots, with Ortega dismissing the protesters as “terrorists”.

The government did not comment on Parrales’ arrest.

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