Nicaraguan police arrested four well-known leaders of the Sandinista dissent on Sunday (June 13), including former guerrilla warrior Dora Maria Tellez, one of the most critical voices in Daniel Ortega's government, an official source has learned.
“Dora Maria Tellez and Ana Margarita Vigil Guardian,”
both leaders of the Union for Democratic Renewal (Unamos), an opposition party, were taken into custody today, police said in a statement.
Hours later, police announced the arrest of Unamos president Suyen Barahona Cuan and party vice president, retired Sandinista dissident general Hugo Torres.
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The head of the American diplomacy for the Americas, Julie Chung, qualified on Twitter as
these new arrests. She called on member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) to send
"a clear signal"
to the Ortega government, on the occasion of the body's session which will be devoted to the crisis in Nicaragua on Tuesday.
Police said the detainees
"are being investigated for committing acts undermining independence, sovereignty and self-determination, inciting foreign interference in internal affairs
between other crimes, according to the statement.
In December, Nicaragua passed a controversial law entitled "Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace", which punishes people who encourage foreign intervention.
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Unamos, formerly known as the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS, center left), is made up of opponents of President Ortega, leader of the ruling Sandinista Front (FSLN, left). A dozen opposition leaders, including four presidential candidates, have been arrested by police since June 2, at the request of the Ortega government. The first was Cristiana Chamorro, daughter of former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997), accused of money laundering through a foundation promoting press freedom and bearing her mother's name. Cristiana Chamorro, 67, who is under house arrest, was seen as a serious opponent for President Ortega in the November 7 elections.