IACHR requests that the I/A Court H.R. extend provisional measures for nine persons deprived of liberty in the electoral context in Nicaragua

May 18, 2022

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Washington D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court) extend provisional measures in order to protect the rights of Michael Edwing Healy and 8 other persons, as well as their families, who are facing a serious and urgent situation presenting a risk of irreparable harm to their rights in Nicaragua. All persons are beneficiaries of precautionary measures and are currently deprived of their liberty in Nicaragua.

  • Michael Edwing Healy Lacayo, president of the Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (UPANIC) and member of the Private Sector of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy in the National Dialogue;
  • Álvaro Javier Vargas Duarte, President of the Federation of Livestock Associations, Vice-President of UPANIC, representative of the private sector to the National Dialogue Table, and member of the Verification and Security Commission;
  • Medardo Mairena Sequeira, former presidential pre-candidate, former coordinator of the Campesino Council in Defense of Land, Lake and Sovereignty, member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, and representative to the Dialogue Table;
  • Pedro Joaquín Mena Amador, former member of the Campesino Council in Defense of Land, Lake and Sovereignty in Nicaragua, member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, and also of the Campesino Movement in the Dialogue Table
  • Jaime José Arellano Arana, journalist and host in La Nation";
  • Miguel Ángel Mendoza Urbina, radio journalist;
  • Mauricio José Díaz Dávila, member of the Board of Directors of the Citizens for Freedom opposition party;
  • Max Isaac Jerez Meza, President of the National University Alliance, member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy; and
  • Edgar Francisco Parrales Castillo, international arbitrator, former diocesan priest, former minister, and permanent representative to the OAS (1982-1986), and professor.

The IACHR emphasizes that the persons identified are public persons, who are known, identified, or perceived to be in opposition to the current Nicaraguan government, and members of various sectors of Nicaraguan society who sought to ensure that the general elections are democratic and that human rights are guaranteed. Similarly, these people have demonstrated in opposition to state repressive actions against the civilian population in the context of human rights crises. In addition, Medardo Mairena Sequeira was detained after expressing his interest in participating as a presidential pre-candidate in the last general elections.

During the time the precautionary measures have been in force, the IACHR received recent information regarding the ongoing risk to their lives and personal integrity. The above, added to the lack of minimum guarantees after being detained, the initial lack of specific information about the location and the current conditions in which they are, the types of penalties used to criminalize opponents, as well as the multiple and consistent complaints about violations of due process in their respective cases suggests that, within the context already accredited to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the deprivation of liberty is closely related to an intention to silence them through reprisals, block any possibility of social and/or political articulation, and thereby send a message of punishment to people who demonstrate or protest against state actions.

The Inter-American Commission granted precautionary measures in favor of all the identified persons and their families, as appropriate, after identifying that the requirements of seriousness, urgency, and irreparable harm pursuant to Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure were met. Despite the IACHR requests to obtain information from the State, no response was received on measures taken to address the risk, which is particularly worrying, due to information indicating that these people were held incommunicado and in conditions of detention presenting a risk. Moreover, they were prevented from having the minimum guarantees of any process, in a context of escalation of the crisis in Nicaragua exacerbated after the electoral process of November 2021.

In these circumstances, the Commission considers that the rights of these nine people are at extreme risk and are exposed to imminent acts of violence, and their families are subject to reprisals because of the actions they take to demand justice.

Taking into account the facts presented and in accordance with the provisions of Article 63(2) of the American Convention and Article 27 of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), the Commission requests that the IACHR order the State of Nicaragua to extend the provisional measures and implement protection measures in favor of the nine identified persons and their families.

When deciding to request provisional measures, the IACHR takes into account Article 76 of its Rules of Procedure and the information available that allows it to support compliance with the requirements of Article 63(2) of the American Convention. In the assessment process, the request is made taking into account the problem raised, the effectiveness of the actions, and the degree of lack of protection in which people would be left if the provisional measures were not adopted. At all times, the context in which the facts that motivate the request occur is addressed.

The Inter-American Court orders provisional measures in cases of extreme gravity and urgency to avoid irreparable damage to persons. These measures are enforced upon the States, and the decisions therein require that States adopt specific actions to protect the rights and/or ensure the lives of threatened individuals or groups.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 108/22

6:05 PM