Systematic violations of civil and political rights
After the April 2018 protests, attacks on civic and political pluralism in Nicaragua accelerated and intensified. Throughout the period under review, the authorities caused the total closure of the civic and democratic space, through the persecution of individuals and organizations that expressed or held positions different from the line of the Government.
The GHREN investigated 102 cases of serious violations and abuses of civil and political rights, and identified the main patterns, which allowed it to confirm that the Government responded to expressions of social discontent with increasingly articulated repressive measures. These violations were committed as part of a plan or policy promoted by the State authorities at the highest level, in order to maintain power and suppress any form of dissent.
The continuous and discriminatory violation of these rights, directed towards real or perceived opponents, generated a persecutory climate based on the suppression of dissent in all spheres of social and political life. Thousands of human rights defenders, NGO workers, activists, journalists, student leaders, religious figures, and artists, as well as the main national and territorial leaders of the political opposition, were forced to leave the country. 10 Virtually all independent media and human rights organizations now operate from abroad. Those who remain in Nicaragua have been forced to practice self-censorship.
Some of the human rights violations and abuses had clear gender dimensions and generated differentiated impacts on men, women, and LGBTI people. A particular victimization of some categories of women for intersecting reasons was also identified: they were women, feminists, leaders, human rights defenders, and/or critics of the Government. Relatives of victims, predominantly women, were subjected to violations and abuses due to their activities to demand justice. The closure of women’s organizations, preceded by stigmatization campaigns, has generated setbacks in women’s access to their rights.
10 According to UNHCR, as of June 2022, over 260,000 Nicaraguans had been forced to flee their country. HCR/PC/NIC/2023/01, p. 32.
1 – Victim profiles
The patterns of human rights abuses and violations identified by the GHREN were directed against a heterogeneous group of individuals, leaders, organizations, and entities. Individuals were victimized because of their political opposition to the government, whether this position was real or a perception of the authorities. Therefore, the GHREN refers to violations and abuses committed against «critical voices» or «real or perceived opponents».
During and immediately after the 2018 protests, protesters and especially those who had assumed a leadership role in the protests, were the main target of human rights violations and abuses. Over time, the profiles of the victims subjected to violations and abuses evolved and expanded to a broader group of critical voices, including human rights defenders, students, feminists, social organizations, journalists and independent media employees, and members of political parties.
Women and women’s organizations were specifically targeted, in retaliation for their important contributions to the protest movements and their role in accompanying and advising victims and their families, but also for their critical stance towards the government since before 2018. A pattern of particularly severe violations against people who participated in the Sandinista revolution, or who at some point in their lives were part of the FSLN, was also identified.
The closure of the civic and democratic space intensified in the context of the 2021 presidential elections, with the cancellation of three opposition parties and the criminal prosecution of the main opposition political figures, journalists, and social, business, and local leaders.
From 2022 to the date of writing of this report, an increasingly large group of people were victimized for expressing critical positions, including in social networks, or for being active in organizations and social movements, including people of faith and members of the Catholic Church, and relatives of political opponents or of victims of human rights violations and abuses. The cancellation of the legal status of hundreds of civil society organizations was part of this dynamic.
In February 2023, the Nicaraguan authorities arbitrarily deprived 316 people of their nationality, accusing them of being «traitors to the homeland», and expelled 222 of them, in violation of their right to remain in their own country.11 The common denominator to all of them is that they were perceived by the Government as a threat to its control of the State.
11 In violation of art. 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and art. 12 para. 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.9, paras. 20-21.
2 – Patterns
a) Violent arrests, without arrest warrants, incommunicado and without due process guarantees
The arrests and detentions of real or perceived opponents, were characterized by the use of violence by the police and members of pro-government armed groups. In some cases, people were deprived of their liberty by members of these groups, interrogated and tortured, and then handed over to the police. In other cases, the arrests were carried out by means of large-scale police operations and, on several occasions with violence, in the presence of the arrested person’s family members.
The constitutional right of detainees to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of their arrest was also systematically violated. In all cases investigated by the GHREN, the victims were first brought before a judicial authority and informed of the reasons for their detention several days, or even weeks, after their arrest.
The GHREN also found a pattern whereby detainees were held in incommunicado detention and the authorities refused to provide their relatives or legal representatives with information about their whereabouts. The Group also documented how judicial, police and prison authorities hindered or prevented the execution of habeas corpus petitions on behalf of detainees, denying them their right to appear and challenge the legality of their detention before a court. In several cases, these events can be technically qualified as forced disappearances.
b) The instrumentalization of criminal law
The Government of Nicaragua used criminal law to persecute real or perceived opponents, and to suppress any criticism or opposition. Unfounded or disproportionate criminal charges, and charges brought on the basis of laws that violate human rights and/or of false evidence, were used as instruments for political persecution. The accused were deprived of their rights to due process and to a defense, leaving them defenseless against such charges.
The Group investigated 44 cases of arbitrary detentions and criminal prosecutions of real or perceived Government opponents. These cases were not isolated or random actions, but part of a State policy with the reiteration of patterns of behavior, an evolution of the strategy over time, and the concerted intervention of multiple institutions, including the National Assembly, the Police, the Judiciary, the Public Ministry, the Public Defender’s Office, the Penitentiary System and the Institute of Forensic Medicine. Officials received instructions from the highest authorities of the State. As of the time of writing of this report, 37 people who self-identified as «political prisoners» continue to be detained.
Adoption of laws to restrict and criminalize the exercise of fundamental freedoms
The National Assembly adopted a series of laws that were used to cancel non-profit organizations and political parties, shut down media outlets, and criminalize real or perceived opponents. The extended version of this report provides a detailed analysis of these laws and their application. The «Anti-Money Laundering Law», the «Cybercrime Law», and the «Sovereignty Law» were particularly relevant for the instrumentalization of criminal law.
Instrumentalization of detention
In February 2021, the National Assembly reformed the Criminal Procedural Code, introducing the concept of «judicial detention» and allowing the Public Prosecutor’s Office to request the extension of the period between the arrest and the preliminary hearing for up to 90 days «whenever […] it considers that […] they require more time to supplement information or sufficient evidence to substantiate and formulate accusations».12 Thereafter, the judicial authorities systematically authorized judicial detention in favor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, leaving detainees under prolonged police custody.
The courts also made excessive and arbitrary use of pretrial detention, imposing it in a generalized manner, without considering the specific circumstances of each case. Likewise, they systematically declared the cases «complex proceedings», doubling the maximum duration of the judicial process, and deliberately delaying criminal proceedings under an argument of legality.
12 Law No. 1060, Law of reform and addition to Law No. 406, Criminal Procedural Code of the Republic of Nicaragua.
Instrumentalization of criminal charges
The profiles of the victims and the charges used for the instrumentalization of criminal law evolved over time. During the 2018 demonstrations, mass arrests of protesters were reported; they were released without charges between 24 and 48 hours later. Furthermore, a pattern of selective criminalization of people who assumed a leadership role during the demonstrations was observed from June 2018 onwards, accused of charges of obstruction of public services (in relation to roadblocks and barricades), and serious crimes such as terrorism; criminal association; organized crime; kidnapping; and crimes related to the carrying or possession, trafficking, manufacturing, and use of weapons, among others.
The first half of 2019 saw hundreds of releases from prison in the context of the efforts of the Negotiation Roundtable established between the Civic Alliance and the Government, and the adoption of the Amnesty Law, which rendered the charges and investigations against all persons involved «in the events that occurred throughout the national territory from April 18, 2018, until the date of entry into force of the […] Law» null and void. 13 However, from July of the same year, such releases were followed by new arrests and re-incarcerations of persons previously imprisoned in connection to their participation in the demonstrations.
Starting in the second half of 2019, and continuing through April 2021, the prosecution charged real or perceived opponents with ordinary crimes such as drug trafficking, illicit firearms trafficking and unlawful possession, and aggravated robbery. During this period, a «revolving door» phenomenon was also identified, which continued over time, whereby authorities detained and released a similar number of people, thus maintaining stability in the numbers of detainees.
In 2021 the policy of persecution targeted persons linked to the presidential elections, which included the seven opposition pre-candidates who had announced their willingness to participate in the elections, many of the main leaders of the political opposition, people active in political movements and parties, journalists, and academics.
Starting from the second half of 2021, most of the arrests were conducted on the basis of charges brought under the offenses of spreading false news through the use of technology (Cybercrime Law) and/or conspiracy to undermine Nicaragua’s national integrity (Criminal Code in connection with the Sovereignty Law). In several cases, the penalty was accompanied by the absolute disqualification from holding public office, from employment by the public sector, and carrying out public duties. Real or perceived opponents were also charged with other crimes, including with money, property, or asset laundering, “ideological falsehood” (analogous to forgery), organized crime, and illicit firearms trafficking.
From August 2022 onwards, the criminalization was directed against other profiles of critical voices, with the detention of 12 religious leaders and members of the Catholic Church, one academic and at least eight relatives of real or perceived opponents, including relatives of victims of human rights violations and abuses who had demanded justice.
13 Law No, 996, Amnesty Law, art. 1.
The instrumentalization of the criminal process
Indictments were brought based on laws that were contrary to international human rights standards, on unfounded charges that did not correspond to the facts described or were based on false evidence. In the majority of the legal case files analyzed, the participation of the accused was not established in a clear, specific, and detailed manner; instead, there were notorious discrepancies in relation to the persons, places, and times of the commission of the alleged crimes, and evident gaps in the supporting evidence. In addition to this, the accusations were based on weak and insufficiently rigorous evidence, including manipulated documentation and evidence and testimonies of police officers. Multiple witnesses reported that police officers planted weapons or drugs in their vehicles.
Faced with these types of criminal accusations, the courts generally failed to observe due process and co comply with the principle of equality of the parties. In most of the cases analyzed, the judges accepted the entirety of the evidence presented by the prosecution and systematically dismissed the defense’s rebuttal evidence, allegations, and objections, including in relation to irregularities in the process and the legality of the evidence.
The hearings were held behind closed doors, without prior notification, and at unusual times and places, in an attempt to avoid public scrutiny and prevent the presence of the attorney of the accused’s choice. In several cases, this favored the appointment of a public defender during the preliminary hearing.
The lack of equality before the courts also included the lack of equality of procedural means. In the cases in which the lawyers chosen by the defendants were able to act as the defense attorneys in the proceedings, they performed their work under extremely limiting conditions. They did not have access to the complete case files nor were they able to visit their clients to confer on the case and prepare the defense. During the hearings, representatives and clients did not enjoy privacy in their communications, as police officers photographed and recorded their conversations. Since 2022, the courts have also failed to provide copies of the sentences, preventing defense attorneys from drafting well-substantiated and reasoned appeals.
In general, the defense teams were subjected to mistreatment and intimidation by judges, prosecutors, and police. They were also subjected to reprisals, including attacks, threats against their lives and their families, criminal prosecution, surveillance, intimidation, smear campaigns, and disbarment from practicing law.
c) Torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment
During the period under review, police and prison system officers and members of pro-government armed groups committed acts of physical and psychological torture, including sexual and gender-based violence, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, in the context of the apprehension, interrogation, and detention of real or perceived opponents.
Physical and sexual torture in police custody
The use of physical and sexual torture techniques was particularly prevalent between April 2018 and June 2019, during extensive interrogations carried out while in police custody, with the objective of obtaining information. Torture and ill-treatment were also aimed at punishing people who had participated in the protests.
Most of the acts of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment documented between April 2018 and June 2019 were perpetrated in police stations and especially in the DAJ, also known as «El Chipote». Torture techniques documented by the Group included: beatings; different forms of sexual violence (rape, threat of rape, sexual torture, and forced nudity); application of electric shocks, including to the genitals; acid and cigarette burns; asphyxiation; simulated drowning (waterboarding); penetrating injuries with a sharp weapon; pulling out fingernails; and stress positions.
In several cases, the acts of torture and ill-treatment were committed in the presence of high-ranking police officers, who incited or permitted such acts. The people who assumed leadership or coordination roles during the protests, the most visible students, and those considered «traitors» (former officials and former FSLN members) were subjected to particularly severe forms of torture and ill-treatment.
Pro-government groups also detained some individuals in secret places of detention and subjected them to torture, with the knowledge and acquiescence of the authorities. After periods that ranged from hours to days, they handed the individuals over to the police with visible signs of violence.
Torture and discriminatory treatment in the National Penitentiary System
Real or perceived opponents who were transferred to Penitentiary System facilities were subjected to discriminatory treatment and detention conditions that were contrary to international standards, which amounted to inhuman, cruel, or degrading treatment and, in some cases, torture.
Between April 2018 and June 2019, most of the male detainees were transferred to the Jorge Navarro prison complex, known as «La Modelo» and the women to the «La Esperanza» Integral Penitentiary Center for Women. In these centers, persons were held in separate cells or galleries in overcrowded conditions and deprived of any interaction with ordinary prisoners. Starting in July 2019, persons detained for political reasons were held in Penitentiary System facilities in various parts of the country, including in La Modelo and La Esperanza prisons.
The detainees in La Modelo and La Esperanza were subjected to mistreatment and discrimination as punishment for their real or perceived political views, including through beatings; threats; insults; the prohibition of all communication with other detainees; isolation in punishment cells; inadequate food and in some cases in smaller portions than those provided to ordinary prisoners; water and electricity interruptions in their cells; and the refusal to deliver the parcels with food and basic supplies brought by their families. Access to medical attention was very limited and was provided only on rare occasions, or when the person’s medical situation had worsened.
Several detainees at La Modelo were subjected to a long-term and indefinite isolation regime in the maximum-security section, known as «La 300» and in punishment cells known as «El Infernillo». The detainees were placed in segregated cells, shared by two prisoners, or in solitary confinement. The cells were 3×2 square meters, closed with metal doors, dark, unsanitary, without ventilation or sufficient natural light, and exposed to humidity, cold and extreme heat. The cells at El Infiernillo reached temperatures of 40 degrees and had limited access to water. They were not allowed to leave the cell regularly; some people were unable to leave the cells to go to the courtyard, receive visitors or communicate with their families for weeks or even months. Some detainees remained in this regime for over two years. Starting in 2020, cameras were installed in each cell, denying any moment of privacy.
White torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment at El Nuevo Chipote
Starting in May 2021, many of the most important leaders of the country’s political opposition, people active in political movements and parties, journalists, academics, and religious leaders were detained. Most of the real or perceived opponents who were detained during this period remained deprived of their liberty in a new compound of the DAJ – the Evaristo Vásquez Police Complex, inaugurated in 2019 and known as «El Nuevo Chipote» – with the exception of some individuals who were held in La Esperanza and La Modelo prisons, and some local political leaders who were held in Penitentiary System facilities in other regions of the country.
Medical attention was generally inadequate, insufficient, and even denied, which aggravated the situation of people suffering from chronic illnesses. In February 2022, Hugo Torres, one of the emblematic leaders of the Sandinista revolution and a member of UNAMOS, died after eight months in detention. There are indications that the precarious conditions and lack of medical attention accelerated the deterioration of his health. Hugo Torres had precautionary measures from the IACHR since August 2021.
At El Nuevo Chipote, after spending anywhere from a few weeks to several months in isolation, most of the detainees were placed in cells shared by two people; however, they were not allowed to talk to each other. The Group identified a particularly harsh treatment against four women political leaders of UNAMOS, who were held in separate cells for the entirety of their detention, for over 18 months.
Family visits to detainees at El Nuevo Chipote were authorized in an inconsistent manner, at intervals of between 45 and 75 days, and by notification a few hours before the visit. The victims and their families had no possibility to communicate outside of the visits; the delivery of parcels was also obstructed. This generated a lot of tension and stress for the victims. At least four of the detainees were deprived from all contact with their children for periods ranging from 15 to 18 months.
The lack of regulation regarding prolonged deprivation of liberty in El Nuevo Chipote, a police precinct that is not part of the Penitentiary System, placed detainees in a position of vulnerability and created a generalized climate of insecurity. In the absence of rules, the authorities exercised their power arbitrarily, constantly changing the rules, applying punishments, and restricting the rights of detainees at will. This situation, combined with the arbitrary nature of the criminal proceedings and the difficulties in communicating with the outside world and with their families, caused extreme anxiety to the detainees.
Punishment through relatives
Throughout the period under review, and in the various places of detention, real or perceived opponents were subjected to punishment and threats against the life and integrity of their family members. Psychological torture often had a gender component, with sexist insults, threats, and blaming women using their sons and daughters.
The use of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment also extended to the relatives of detainees. Family members reported having suffered physical and/or psychological violence at the hands of the personnel of El Nuevo Chipote, La Modelo, and La Esperanza; including humiliating or degrading treatment, sexual and gender-based violence during searches, and threats of reprisals against their detained family members if they denounced the conditions of detention.
Sexual violence as a form of torture
Police and Penitentiary System officers and, in some cases, members of pro-government armed groups, perpetrated different forms of sexual violence against detainees. Many of these acts constituted torture since their purpose was to punish the detainees and to break them physically and psychologically in order to obtain information.
The use of rape and other forms of sexual torture (such as the application of electric shocks, or kicks or blows to the genitals) was more frequent between April and August 2018, and generally occurred in the context of interrogations and detention in police stations and in the DAJ. Rapes of men were mostly carried out by penetration with objects (pipes or firearms), while women were generally penetrated by the perpetrators’ sexual organ, and in some cases repeatedly over several days. The threat of rape was also frequently used, particularly against women, during apprehensions and interrogations, and was also extended to family members of the detainees. Cases were reported of women who suffered miscarriages as a result of the treatment received during detention.
The use of forced nudity was also identified in many places of detention – both clandestine and official-, including during searches, in the cells, during interrogations, or at court. Some people were interrogated and/or photographed naked, and/or forced to remain naked for several days. Some forms of sexual violence, such as non-consented sexual touching and forced nudity during searches, have also targeted family members and lawyers of detainees.
Serious impacts on physical and mental health
The authorities failed to protect individuals from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, and deliberately and systematically obstructed accountability processes. Most victims were brought before a judicial authority for the first time several days, even weeks, after their arrest to hide the physical marks of torture. In addition, the victims were prevented from informing their defense about the abuse, since no confidential meeting spaces were allowed. In some cases, lawyers complained about the apparent signs of torture and mistreatment of detainees; however, these were ignored by the courts and suppressed from the records of the hearings.
d) Cancellations of parties, organizations, and media closures
As part of its strategy to suppress all dissidence, the government also canceled political organizations and parties, and arbitrarily closed media outlets, causing the collapse of the associative and political space, and seriously affecting the right of the population to obtain reliable information.
The GHREN documented the cancellation of the legal personalities of over 3,144 national and international nonprofit organizations between December 2018 and February 2023; that is, almost half of the 7,227 organizations registered with the Ministry of Interior in 2017. The legal personalities were cancellated via decrees of the National Assembly or resolutions of the Ministry of Interior.
The first organizations canceled in 2018 were nine human rights organizations that had been vocal in their criticism of the government.14 Five of them were headed by women. Over time, the authorities developed new regulations that imposed overly burdensome requirements on organizations, including the «Foreign Agents Law», the «Anti-Money Laundering Law», and the «Non-Profit Organizations Law», forcing several organizations to close their doors due to difficulties in complying with such legislation.
The GHREN concluded that the Government’s cancellation of civil society organizations is arbitrary and is aimed at reconfiguring the civic space and guaranteeing the State’s monopoly of community, development, and social assistance activities. These actions were part of a strategy to reinforce the links of dependency and the vulnerability of the population to the politics of patronage.
The departure of international organizations from the country, and the cancellation and closure of national civil society organizations not only violates the right of association of the affected organizations but also has a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights by Nicaraguans. For example, the over 200 women’s organizations that were canceled, played a fundamental role in the protection of children, the care of women victims of violence and the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights. Canceling these organizations has left the women and girls they served without the possibility to file a complaint, or seek assistance or protection.
Law No. 1070, adopted in May 2021, also restricted the right to political participation by incorporating the prohibitions contained in the Foreign Agents Law and the Sovereignty Law as grounds for disqualification for the registration of candidatures. A few days after the approval of the law, the Supreme Electoral Council issued resolutions canceling the legal personality of the Democratic Restoration Party and the Conservative Party; in August, it canceled the Citizens for Liberty party (CxL), the vehicle chosen by the opposition to run in the elections as a unitary party. The GHREN analyzed the resolutions cancelling these parties and concluded that they presented substance and/or formal defects.
As part of the Government’s strategy to silence journalists and independent media, the authorities canceled dozens of media outlets. In addition, restrictions were imposed that made the work of several media outlets impossible, including through censorship and by preventing private newspapers from obtaining the materials necessary to print copies. The Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (TELCOR) played an instrumental role in the censorship and cancellations of media outlets, through threats to their directors, the suspension of broadcasts, and the closure of media outlets. The GHREN also documented the police raid and the de facto confiscation of the assets, equipment, documentation, and real estate of three of the country’s most influential independent media outlets: Confidencial, 100% Noticias and La Prensa.
14 El Centro de Información y Servicios de Asesoría en Salud, el Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos, el Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticas Públicas, el Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación, Hagamos Democracia, el Instituto para el Desarrollo y la Democracia, Popol Na, el Instituto de Liderazgos de la Segovia, y la Fundación del Río.
e) Stigmatization, harassment, and intimidation
Senior government officials, representatives of public institutions, pro-government media, and social media users, used inflammatory rhetoric that stigmatized and incited hatred against real or perceived opponents. The speeches described were part of a communication strategy that included the implementation of disinformation and stigmatization campaigns through social networks, institutional spaces, and pro-government media. For this purpose, instructions were issued to government officials and pro-government media on the information to be disseminated and how it should be articulated.
During the 2018 protests, the authorities developed a discursive construction of the enemy, ascribing responsibility for the acts of violence to government opponents, or those who were perceived as such, whom they labeled as «coup perpetrators» and «traitors.» As time passed, they expanded this category to include an ever-wider group of people who were the object of defamation, insults, and serious public accusations by the authorities. Many individuals were also subjected to targeted smear campaigns and harassment through social networks and official and pro-government media. Given the general context of repression and impunity in the face of attacks by the government-aligned sector of the population against the population perceived as government opponents, the GHREN considers that the described discourse may constitute incitement to violence.
Real or perceived opponents were subjected to intimidation, threats, surveillance, and assault by the police, members of pro-government groups, and local structures linked to the FSLN – Citizen Power Councils, Electoral Victory Units and Sandinista Youth, among others. The Sandinista Leadership Committees and unions maintained constant surveillance of the activities of those employed by the State.
The GHREN documented over 100 cases of individuals, including journalists, feminists, religious leaders, students, artists, members of political parties, political movements and civil society organizations, lawyers, and relatives of victims of human rights violations and abuses, who were subjected to intimidation and harassment by the police, pro-government groups and local FSLN structures.
The criminalization, stigmatization, threats, and constant harassment of opponents meant that not only were they unable to participate freely in the social and political life of the country, but they were also unable to live their lives normally. People interviewed by the GHREN expressed that they were afraid to leave their homes, and some people were forced to change their residence several times due to fear of reprisals. Many had to leave the country.
The patterns of harassment were particularly severe for those released from prison, who were subjected to constant surveillance, attacks, threats, and loss of employment and access to higher education. This prevented them from rebuilding their lives and their family lives were severely affected.
These attacks also targeted individuals associated with opponents. Thus, the relatives of victims of violations and abuses, and the organizations that provided them with support, were specifically targeted. This affected women disproportionately, as they often led efforts to demand justice. Similarly, lawyers representing political prisoners were subjected to reprisals.
f) Arbitrary deprivation of nationality and violation of the right to remain in one’s own country
The GHREN documented violations of the rights of real or perceived opponents and their families in the context of migratory processes or of travel outside of the country, including prolonged unjustified detentions, interrogations, arbitrary confiscation of passports, and denial of the right to leave and/or enter one’s own country.
The patterns of violations of the rights of real or perceived opponents worsened in February 2023 with the discriminatory and arbitrary deprivation of the Nicaraguan nationality of 316 persons, in violation of due process guarantees, leaving most of them stateless and violated their right not to be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality. Likewise, the authorities sought to produce the civil death of affected persons by erasing them from the birth records and civil registry, confiscating their assets, and expelling them.
On 9 February, the Government of Nicaragua expelled 222 political prisoners who flew to the United States under a deportation order issued by the Court of Appeals of Managua, which declared them traitors to the homeland. At the same time, the National Assembly adopted a constitutional reform and specific legislation to deprive persons declared traitors to the homeland of their nationality.
In a public speech, President Daniel Ortega described the departure of these individuals as a «banishment.» For his part, the president of the National Assembly confirmed that the different institutions and branches of the government worked in a synchronized manner under one single order, in order to deport and deprive the affected persons of their nationality.
On 15 February 2023, the same court issued a resolution declaring another 94 persons, both resident in Nicaragua and abroad, traitors to the homeland and stripping them of their nationality and ordering the forfeiture of their assets in favor of the State. The forfeiture order was executed immediately, and it was issued without holding any proceedings to allow the affected individuals to exercise their right to a defense.