Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Barrios is among at least 20 Nicaraguans arrested this month for further government repression.
Nicaraguan police have arrested the brother of detained opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro as president Daniel Ortega’s widely criticized repression Potential challenges continue just months before the scheduled elections.
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Barrios was arrested on Friday afternoon under the country’s recently introduced sovereignty law.
Police said he was “being investigated for carrying out acts that harm the independence, sovereignty and self-determination” of the Central American nation.
He is among at least 20 prominent Nicaraguans, including his sister and four other politicians who were expected to run against Ortega in the November presidential contest, who have been arrested since early June.
This week, Ortega justified the crackdown by saying his administration arrested and prosecuted criminals who plotted a coup against him. “It simply came to our notice then. Everything we do, we do for the book, ”he said.
But civil society and human rights groups have accused the 75-year-old – who ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 and returned to power in 2007, winning two successive re-election bids since – of growing authoritarianism. .
The wave of arrests caused Mexico and Argentina to do so withdraw their respective ambassadors in Nicaragua on June 21, as the two countries raised their concern about “the worrying political-legal actions of the Nicaraguan government.”
The Organization of American States (OAS) also passed a resolution this month expressing alarm “at the recent deterioration of the political climate and the human rights situation” in the country.
Pedro Joaquin, previously a legislator, had been a vocal critic of Ortega and was a member of the opposition group Citizen Alliance that sought to contest the election.
He is the son of former Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro, who defeated Ortega in 1990.
Pedro Joaquin’s brother, prominent journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, said on Twitter that his brother has been “kidnapped” by police who “fabricate alleged crimes and offenses against citizens demanding free elections.”
Carlos Fernando has gone into exile this week with his wife abroad after police stormed his home.
Police also in early June he stormed the house of his sister, Cristiana Chamorro, on charges of money laundering. She has rejected the allegation, saying it is an attempt to block her from running for president.