Title

Silence at any cost

Author Information

Amnesty International

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Human Rights

Keywords

Right to life, protection of life for all individuals, protection against torture, protection from violence, proper prison conditions, fair treatment from law enforcement, due process, political checks and balances, rights to liberty and security, presumption of innocence until proven guilty, equal protection under the law

Description

When images of the violent repression of the mass protests that began in April 2018 over a series of reforms to Nicaragua’s social security system filled the front pages of major newspapers around the world, it seemed that the human rights crisis in the country had reached its peak. By the end of April 2018, it was hard to imagine that things could get any worse. President Daniel Ortega’s government was using the entire security apparatus to punish those who dared to demonstrate in the streets to demand accountability. Two years later, reality continues to exceed the worst predictions. The evidence and testimonies contained in this report show how the Government of Nicaragua has not only deepened but also perfected its repressive machinery, implementing a series of sophisticated tactics to silence any form of criticism and social demand, at any price. Violations of human rights, including freedom of expression, are nothing new in Nicaragua. The use of new tools such as some of those described in this report, however, signals the start of a much bleaker chapter in the country’s recent history. Under the pretext of preventing the spread of “fake news”, the Special Law on Cybercrime establishes a legal framework that can be used to criminally punish anyone expressing an opinion which, in the eyes of the authorities, “causes alarm, fear or anxiety”. Similarly, a constitutional reform, approved at first reading, allows for sentences of life imprisonment. Due to the ambiguity of the proposed reform, there is a valid fear that this is just another way of criminalizing those perceived as opponents. Human rights defenders fear the worst is yet to come. They believe that, in the run-up to the November 2021 presidential elections, the ongoing human rights violations will intensify as the government seeks to silence any form of opposition, at any cost.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Silence at any cost

When images of the violent repression of the mass protests that began in April 2018 over a series of reforms to Nicaragua’s social security system filled the front pages of major newspapers around the world, it seemed that the human rights crisis in the country had reached its peak. By the end of April 2018, it was hard to imagine that things could get any worse. President Daniel Ortega’s government was using the entire security apparatus to punish those who dared to demonstrate in the streets to demand accountability. Two years later, reality continues to exceed the worst predictions. The evidence and testimonies contained in this report show how the Government of Nicaragua has not only deepened but also perfected its repressive machinery, implementing a series of sophisticated tactics to silence any form of criticism and social demand, at any price. Violations of human rights, including freedom of expression, are nothing new in Nicaragua. The use of new tools such as some of those described in this report, however, signals the start of a much bleaker chapter in the country’s recent history. Under the pretext of preventing the spread of “fake news”, the Special Law on Cybercrime establishes a legal framework that can be used to criminally punish anyone expressing an opinion which, in the eyes of the authorities, “causes alarm, fear or anxiety”. Similarly, a constitutional reform, approved at first reading, allows for sentences of life imprisonment. Due to the ambiguity of the proposed reform, there is a valid fear that this is just another way of criminalizing those perceived as opponents. Human rights defenders fear the worst is yet to come. They believe that, in the run-up to the November 2021 presidential elections, the ongoing human rights violations will intensify as the government seeks to silence any form of opposition, at any cost.