An international human rights organization is calling for increased pressure on Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega as arrests of political opposition figures continue ahead of Nov. 7 elections. Human Rights Watch planned to release a report Tuesday detailing the politically motivated arrests in recent weeks of nearly 20 opposition pre-candidates, prominent businessmen, former government officials and political leaders. The Associated Press received a copy of the report in advance.
The organization called on the United Nations Security Council to invoke Article 99 of its charter “to raise this issue in the U.N. Security Council and present it as a growing crisis involving grave human rights abuses which could undermine stability in the region.”
Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term as president and has been systematically clearing his path of potential challengers through arrests for alleged crimes against the state. The government had already significantly reduced the public space for opposition to maneuver through repressive laws and intimidation.
“High-profile arrests and other serious human rights violations against critics appear to be part of a broader strategy to eliminate political competition, stifle dissent, and pave the way for President Daniel Ortega’s re-election to a fourth consecutive term,” Human Rights Watch said.