Nicaragua strips 94 political opponents of citizenship | Politics News

Analysts, legal experts and human rights groups condemned the move, which they said was a violation of international law.

Nicaragua has stripped the citizenship of 94 political opponents, including prominent writers, activists and journalists.

The 94 people are “traitors” and will have their assets confiscated, Court of Appeals Judge Ernesto Rodríguez Mejía said in a statement on Wednesday.

He claimed those on the list – among them human rights activist Vilma Núñez, former Sandinista rebel commander Luis Carrión and journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro – guilty of “spreading fake news” and “conspiring to sabotage”. national integrity”.

Most of those named had fled Nicaragua when President Daniel Ortega began hunting opponents two years ago, and Mejía said they were declared “defectors”. There is no mention of what might happen to those named still in Nicaragua.

Analysts, legal experts and human rights groups say the move violates international law and is unprecedented – at least in the Western Hemisphere – in terms of scale and impact.

Alvaro Navarro, a journalist who was stripped of his citizenship, was defiant.

“I’m Nicaraguan by the grace of God… if they think they’re going to bring me to my knees, they’ll mess up. Long live Nicaragua!” Navarro wrote on Twitter.

This move comes a few days after Ortega free 222 political prisoners and put them on flights to the United States.

Soon after, Ortega’s government voted to strip the ex-convicts of Nicaraguan citizenship.

Thousands fled into exile Since Nicaragua’s security forces violently suppressed a series of anti-government protests in 2018.

In the run-up to Ortega’s re-election in November 2021, Nicaraguan authorities arrested seven potential opposition presidential candidates to clear the field. The government has also shut down hundreds of non-governmental groups that Ortega alleges receive funding from abroad and use it to destabilize his government.

Peter Spiro, a professor of international law at Temple University, and others say that disenfranchisement in this context violates the treaty adopted by nations at the United Nations in 1961, including Nicaragua, set clear rules to prevent statelessness.

The treaty stipulates that governments cannot “deprive any individual or group of people of their nationality on account of race, ethnicity, religion or politics”.

Spiro notes that there are some circumstances in which a government can terminate citizenship, such as terminating citizenship for a person naturalizing in another country when the first country bans dual citizenship. However, he said, citizenship should not be terminated when it is used as a political weapon.

Spain granted citizenship to 222 exiles, while the United States granted temporary protection to Nicaraguans for two years.

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