Nicaragua condemns businessmen in final phase of political oppression World news

MANAGUA (Reuters) – Two top executives of Nicaragua’s largest business association have been convicted of “undermining national integrity” in the latest in a series of lawsuits against political opponents of President Daniel Ortega.

More than 40 of Ortega’s opponents have been convicted of crimes such as treason and money laundering since the November presidential election, which brought him his fourth consecutive term.

Friday’s conviction of Michael Healy, president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), and his vice president, Alvaro Vargas, was a charge comparable to treason under Nicaraguan law, the rights body said.

“We reject and condemn this judicial pantomime,” the body, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), said in a statement calling for their immediate release.

Healy faces up to 13 years in prison and Vargas up to 9, with a conviction expected next week, they added.

Political cartoons about world leaders

The Nicaraguan government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Healy and Vargas, arrested last October and charged with “money laundering, property and property damage to the state and society of Nicaragua”, were also members of the opposition Civic Alliance.

Ortega’s government is becoming increasingly isolated and internationally condemned for repressing the president’s opponents and critical media in the Central American country, which has dominated since returning to power 15 years ago.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez in Managua; writing by Kylie Madry; editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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