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U.S. hits 3 Nicaraguan judges with sanctions for stifling political opposition

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The United States on Wednesday announced further sanctions targeting the regime of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega over his government’s actions to punish political opponents. File Photo by Rodrigo Arangua/EPA

April 20 (UPI) — The United States sanctioned three Nicaraguan judges as the administration of President Joe Biden continues to impose punitive measures against members of the Ortega regime over its stifling of democracy and political opposition.

Judges Nadia Camila Tardencilla Rodriguez, Ernesto Leonel Rodriguez Mejia and Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh Andino were hit with sanctions Wednesday by the U.S. Treasury on accusations of being involved in human rights abuses committed on behalf of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

“The Ortega regime continues to engage in anti-democratic actions that target the most vocal opposition figures in Nicaragua, including through its judicial system,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said Wednesday in a statement.

“The United States will continue to support the Nicaraguan people as they strive to restore democratic institutions.”

Ortega has led the Caribbean nation since 2007, with observers stating he has been slipping toward slipped toward a dictatorship since. According to the Congressional Research Service, between 2007 and last year, his government has closed more than 3,100 nongovernmental organizations focused on human rights, medical care, education and civil and social matters, with more than 200,000 Nicaraguans having fled the country for political and economic reasons since 2018.

The democratic world stepped up its opposition to Ortega in 2021 after he was elected to a fourth consecutive term during an election they said was neither fair nor free as his regime arrested and detained his opposition.

Rothschuh Andino of the First Criminal Appeal Court of Managua was hit with sanctions Wednesday following his court’s decision in early February to deport to the United States 222 Nicaraguan political prisoners, including opposition candidates rounded up ahead of the 2021 election.

Tardencilla Rodriguez of the Second District Trial Court of Managua was sanctioned Monday over the stripping of citizenship from Rolando Alvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa and an outspoken critic of the Ortega region.

Alvarez had his citizenship stripped after he was sentenced to 26 years in prison after he declined to be exiled to the United States, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Rodriguez Mejia of the Managua Appeals Court was hit with sanctions for his court’s decision on Feb. 15 to strip 94 outspoken Nicaraguan regime critics, including reporters and human rights defenders, of their nationality while declaring them traitors.

“We will continue to use available diplomatic and economic tools to promote accountability for the Ortega-Murillo regime’s abuses, reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Bishop Alvarez and urge the restoration of civic space for the people of Nicaragua,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday in a statement.

The United States has imposed asset freezes on more than 45 people — including Ortega’s wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo — and 11 entities, with the State Department hitting more than 800 Nicaraguans and their family members with visa restrictions.

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U.S. hits 3 Nicaraguan judges with sanctions for stifling political opposition Reviewed by RP on April 20, 2023 Rating: 5

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