Nicaraguan police attacked the house of the opposition presidential hope Crime News


Police attacked the home of Cristiana Chamorro, a journalist and presidential candidate, accused of money laundering.

Nicaraguan police have stormed the home of opposition leader and potential presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro, escalating a political battle ahead of this year’s election.

Her brother, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of the independent newspaper Confidential, confirmed Wednesday’s raid on Twitter and said her sister had been ordered to arrest her.

Social media and local television broadcast live footage of police entering and surrounding Chamorro’s home in Managua, the capital. Officers could be seen using force to expel journalists who had come to cover the scene.

Nicaraguan prosecutors requested Chamorro’s arrest for money laundering and other crimes, including a minor misrepresentation, earlier this week.

The 67-year-old journalist, who does not belong to any political party, is considered a serious challenger by President Daniel Ortega in the November presidential election, although he has not confirmed that he is seeking a fourth term.

Nicaraguan police officers drive journalists away from the entrance to the house of opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro in Managua, Nicaragua [Carlos Herrera/Reuters]

A judge in Managua, the capital, issued the arrest warrant, acceding to a request from the attorney general, according to a statement from the judicial authorities.

The attorney general also formally requested on Tuesday that Chamorro be disqualified from holding public office because of the criminal investigation initiated against her.

Chamorro denies the charges and calls them a “farce” that aims to prevent him from seeking the presidency. Neither Reuters news agency was able to immediately contact Chamorro or his representatives for comment.

“Most of the opposition believes that this is a way to try to eliminate all the most prominent opposition leaders before this year’s presidential election, “said Lucia Newman of Al Jazeera from Santiago, Chile, after the the police.

“She would be the third … presidential candidate to be jailed,” Newman said, adding that “two of the opposition parties have been outlawed.”

Efforts to disqualify Chamorro for running have received criticism from the United States, the Organization of American States (OAS) and others.

In a statement on Wednesday, the OAS said the “process of systematic and repeated violations of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms” was an “attack on democracy.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said on Twitter that preventing Chamorro from running “reflects Ortega’s fear of free and fair elections.”

The head of human rights at the United Nations has accused the Attorney General’s Office of making false allegations against Ortega’s critics.

Chamorro had recently become a potential candidate for unity who might have been able to muster a fractured opposition to defeat Ortega in the Nov. 7 vote. On Tuesday he announced that he would run for the opposition.

She is the daughter of Violeta Chamorro, who became president of Nicaragua in the 1990 elections, dismissing Ortega after her first stint in power.

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