Police are raiding the home of Cristiana Chamorro, a journalist and prospective presidential candidate, on charges of money laundering.
Nicaraguan Police raided the home of opposition leader and potential presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro, which sparked a political battle ahead of the election later this year.
Her brother, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of the independent news agency Confidencial, confirmed Wednesday’s raid on Twitter, saying his sister had been arrested.
Social media and local television broadcast live footage of police entering and surrounding Chamorro’s home in Managua, the capital. Officers could be seen using force to oust journalists who appeared on the scene.
Nicaraguan prosecutors earlier this week called for the arrest of Chamorro for money laundering and other crimes, including a lesser citation for misrepresentation.
The 67-year-old journalist, who does not belong to a political party, is seen as a serious challenge for President Daniel Ortega in the November presidential election, although he has not confirmed that he will run for a fourth term.
A judge in the capital Managua has issued the arrest warrant, according to a request from the attorney general, according to a statement from the judicial authorities.
The attorney general also formally sought Tuesday to dismiss Chamorro’s inability to hold office due to the criminal investigation instituted against her.
Chamorro denies the charges, calling them a “joke” aimed at preventing her from seeking the presidency. Neither the Chamorro nor her representatives could be immediately reached for comment by the Reuters news agency.
“Most of the opposition believe it is a way of trying to eliminate all the most prominent opposition leaders before this year’s presidential election, ”Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman from Santiago, Chile, reported after the police raid.
“She would be the third … prospective presidential candidate captured,” Newman said, adding that “two of the opposition parties have now been declared illegal.”
Attempts to disqualify Chamorro from management have drawn criticism from the United States, the Organization of American States (OAS) and others.
OAS said in a statement on Wednesday that the “process of systematic and repeated violations of the rule of law and of fundamental freedoms” is an “attack on democracy”.
– OAS (@OAS_official) 2 June 2021
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said on Twitter that Chamorro’s prevention of competition “reflects Ortega’s fears of free and fair elections”.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused the Attorney General’s office of fabricating false allegations against Ortega’s critics.
Chamorro recently emerged as a potential unity candidate who could potentially rally a broken opposition to defeat Ortega in the November 7 vote. On Tuesday, she announced that she was going to ask for an appointment from the opposition.
She is the daughter of Violeta Chamorro, who became president of Nicaragua during a 1990 election, and ousted Ortega after his first reign.