RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The president of Nicaragua’s Mothers of April Association (AMA) Francys Valdivia, who was detained Tuesday, April 20, by the National Police when trying to participate in a mass in memory of her brother murdered 3 years ago, was released an hour later along with 3 other people, the group reported.
AMA, comprising mothers and relatives of the victims of the anti-government demonstrations that broke out 3 years ago, denounced that its president was arrested in the city of Esteli, 149 kilometers north of Managua, along with Stephanie Martinez, Marcos Silva and Ana Rivera.
AMA published a video in which a dozen police officers, including riot police, forcibly detain the 3 women and a man, and push them into a patrol car.
“Damn you”, “Murderers,” “Let them go, damn you, murderers,” shouted in desperation to the police the woman who recorded the video, who denounced that the agents also wanted to take “Doña Francisca,” Valdivia’s mother, into custody.
POLICE PREVENTED MASS TO HONOR THE DECEASED
The president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Antonia Urrejola, criticized the detention in a tweet. “The right to honor victims, the right to remember them, the right to keep memory alive, is not a crime. Neither is informing, demonstrating, gathering, dissenting,” Urrejola reproached.
According to the account that those affected shared with the IACHR, the Nicaraguan police prevented a mass from being held in the Estelí cathedral in memory of Franco Valdivia, who was murdered 3 years ago during protests against the government of Daniel Ortega.
“Although Francys Valdivia was only briefly detained, these actions are perpetrated to prevent public demonstrations demanding justice and an end to impunity, and represent a breach of international #HumanRights obligations by the State of #Nicaragua,” the IACHR denounced.
“The #IACHR condemns the attack and the re-victimization of the victims and their organizations and once again urges the State of #Nicaragua to put an end to the repressive escalation it has deployed in recent days, as well as to initiate actions that promote #Truth and #Justice,” it added.
DETAINED THREE YEARS AFTER HER BROTHER’S DEATH
AMA’s president is the sister of university student Franco Valdivia, who was shot dead on April 20th, 2018 in front of the Sandinista-run Estelí City Hall.
The family of the student, who was in his third year of law school and left a 7-year-old girl orphaned, has denounced that 3 years later no one has been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted for his death.
According to Francisco Ortega, an attorney specializing in forensic medicine and retired military, who participated in the autopsy, the young man was shot in the left eyebrow by “someone who knew how to shoot very well,” because it had not been a warning shot, but rather a “shot to kill.”
The ex-executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Paulo Abrao, who witnessed the demonstrations in April 2018, considered that the detention of AMA’s president is part of the “state terrorism” experienced in Nicaragua.
On April 18th, 2018, a popular uprising broke out over controversial social security reforms and later turned into a demand for the resignation of President Daniel Ortega, due to his violent response.
The protests, described by the Executive as an “attempted coup d’état,” left at least 328 dead, according to the IACHR, although local agencies raise the figure to 684 and the Government concedes to 200.