Press Release

The IACHR requests that the Inter-American Court adopt provisional measures in favor of Juan Sebastián Chamorro, José Adán Aguerri, Félix Maradiaga, Violeta Granera, and family, due to extreme risk in Nicaragua

June 23, 2021

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Washington, D. C.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) to adopt provisional measures in order to protect the rights of Juan Sebastián Chamorro, José Adán Aguerri, Félix Maradiaga, Violeta Granera, and their families, who face a situation of extreme seriousness and urgency, and whose rights are at risk of suffering irreparable harm in Nicaragua.

Despite the precautionary measures granted between 2018 and 2019 and currently in force (MC 918-18, MC 671-18 and MC 1525-18), the identified persons continue to be at risk, a situation that has increased in the context of the current crisis of human rights in the country.

In particular, the identified persons seek to participate in the general elections of November 2021 as part of the political opposition groups they represent. In this sense, it is worth noting that they are public figures, members of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy and the Blue and White National Unity; who hold leading and visible roles against the measures promoted by the current Nicaraguan government since April 2018, and they have manifested in opposition to the repressive actions of the state against the civilian population in the context of a human rights crisis. In addition, they seek for the general elections of November 2021 to be democratic.

The information received suggests that the deprivation of liberty of these persons is closely connected with the intention of silencing them through retaliation and thereby sending a message of punishment to people who demonstrate or protest against state actions or who seek to oppose the current Nicaraguan government in the next general elections in November 2021. That is, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, José Adán Aguerri, Félix Maradiaga, Violeta Granera continue to be at risk, which may affect their rights to life and personal integrity. In this regard, there are signs of arbitrariness in the detention carried out in June 2021 related to the use of a regulatory framework that leads to the criminalization of the opposition; furthermore, there is no specific information on their current conditions of detention or exact whereabouts, or on effective measures taken to protect the rights at risk or to prevent the alleged violations of due process in their causes.

The foregoing is of special concern, especially given the fact that they are currently in the custody of the State, and that no information has been provided on the specific measures adopted by the State in response to the alleged facts. In these circumstances, the Commission considered that their rights are at serious risk and that the persons identified may be the target of violent acts. In the same way, the members of their families are at risk as they may be the target of reprisals for their family ties and for any actions they might take to demand justice for the State's acts after the arrests of the identified persons.

In particular, the Commission has asked the Court to request that the Illustrious State of Nicaragua:

a)      Adopt the necessary measures to guarantee their life, personal integrity and health in order to protect the four identified individuals and the members of their families;

b)      Take the necessary measures so that the beneficiaries can have immediate and constant access to their families, attorneys and legal representatives, and so that proper evaluations may be carried out to determine the state of their health, including medical evaluations;

c)      Ask the competent authorities to adopt alternative measures to deprivation of liberty as a means to safeguard their rights in light of the applicable standards, taking into account the aggravation of the risk to life and personal integrity as a result of the circumstances surrounding the deprivation of liberty of the identified people, as well as the need to safeguard such rights;

d)      Consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives.

Provisional measures are issued by the Inter-American Court in cases of extreme gravity and urgency to avoid irreparable damage to persons; They are mandatory for the States, so the decisions contained therein require that States adopt specific actions to safeguard the rights and/or protect the lives of individuals or groups that are under threat.

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 the observance and defense of 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. 156/21