The Nicaraguan human rights collective Nicaragua Nunca Mas (“Nicaragua Never Again”) released a report this week accusing the communist Ortega regime of using 40 different types of torture on dozens of political prisoners.
The report documented at least 158 political victims tortured since the Ortega regime launched a crackdown on political dissidents in response to protests in April 2018. The regime’s response to that wave of peaceful anti-communist activity killed hundreds of people in addition to resulting in a significant increase in the number of political prisoners in that country.
The 40 different types of torture that the regime was documented to have used on its victims range from sexual violence against both women and men, forced nudity, extreme and inhumane conditions of detention, beatings, death threats issued to both the victims and their relatives, asphyxiation, temporary forced disappearance, burns, inducement to suicide, Russian roulette games, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, forced ingestion of drugs, food deprivation, intoxication, electric shocks, detachment of fingernails, denial of medical attention, and simulated executions.
Based on testimonies obtained from the victims, the report directly identifies the director of the Nicaraguan Police Francisco Díaz as the main perpetrator of the tortures. Díaz has been an in-law of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega since 2010, when Díaz’s daughter married Ortega’s son.
In addition to Díaz, the report directly implicates nine regime generals: Fidel Domínguez, Luis Barrantes, Pedro Argueta, Luis Alberto Pérez, Adolfo Marenco, Juan Valle Valle, Vladimir Cerda Moraga and Ramón Avellán. All are direct subordinates of Ortega and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo.
The report identified at least 33 police centers where torture took place in addition to seven penitentiary facilities and four clandestine centers, including the “Chipote” prison, where the Ortega regime keeps political prisoners in inhumane conditions.
Nicaraguan lawyer Juan Carlos Arce, a member of the Nicaraguan human rights collective, told the local newspaper Confidencial on Thursday that the Ortega regime has built an entire operative structure to torture dissdents of the regime and, since 2019, the communists have “evolved” their methods of torture, going from physical abuse to “disrupt your body” to more sensory types of torture.
“All these actions were aimed at generating harm, at physically destroying the people who were deprived of their freedom,” Arce said. “They used local government buildings to torture, local government officials tortured and gave the order to paramilitary forces to torture.
Arce added that the main evidence of torture comes from both the testimonies of the victims and their bodies, which showed obvious signs of abuse.
The report detailed how the Ortega regime is using spurious accusations of “treason” against dissidents to strip them of their citizenship, which renders them stateless persons and allows Ortega to exile them.
Since February, the Ortega regime has banished hundreds of dissidents and political prisoners from the country, stripping them of their nationality and seizing all of their assets and properties in the country. Spain has offered to grant Spanish citizenship to the banished Nicaraguans, with the latest group of 18 having received it on Wednesday.
“The arbitrary stripping of their nationality was preceded by a climate of aggressions and harassment, among which the following stand out,” the report documented, “attempts on their lives, health effects due to increased stress, anxiety and insomnia as a result of forced and involuntary displacement to another country, in addition to aggravating ailments they suffered prior to the arrests and during the period of incarceration.”
“Likewise, these persons have had their property confiscated, have been denied their constitutional right to a pension, and have been denied the right to a pension,” it added.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.