the university leader Lesther Germanwho confronted President Daniel Ortega and urged him to “surrender” during the 2018 social uprising in Nicaragua, was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison by a local judge, reported the young man’s mother, Lesbia Alfaro.
In recorded statements sent to The Associated Press, Alfaro said that Judge Nadia Tardencilla sentenced her son in an oral and public trial that only his defense attorney, Enrique Genie, was allowed to enter. The young man was accused of “conspiracy to undermine the national integrity”, the same crime charged to dozens of opponents prosecuted in recent days.
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“The judge sentenced him to 13 years in prison, disqualifying him from holding public office,” added Alfaro, who described the trial as “a clown, a lie, a circus.” The mother of the 24-year-old student leader, who graduated as a journalist in 2021 and who was arrested at the beginning of last July, maintained that her son is innocent. “He is not a terrorist”he asserted.
For its part, the Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN), founded by Alemán after the April 2018 protests, assured in a statement that its leader “has been persecuted and unfairly prosecuted.” According to AUN, during the trial the Prosecutor’s Office presented “false witnesses” and used as main evidence the video of Lesther Alemán’s intervention on May 16, 2018, during the first session of the national dialogue, in which he gave a speech in which he urged Ortega to withdraw from power.
“This is not a dialogue table, it is a table to negotiate his exit and he knows it very well, because the people have requested that,” Alemán exclaimed before the astonished gaze of Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Then he added: “We cannot dialogue with a murderer, because what has been committed in this country is genocide and that is how it will be described.”
In AUN’s opinion, the trial and conviction against Lesther Alemán were “an act of revenge” for having rebuked Ortega “and for the threat he represents to the dictatorship.”
Lesther Alemán is one of the 46 opponents imprisoned by Ortega between last May and November and who began to be tried on February 1 last. Among them are seven candidates for the Presidency who tried to participate in the elections of the previous November, in which the president was re-elected for a fourth consecutive presidential term.
Nicaragua has been experiencing a political and social crisis since the 2018 revolt, when the police repression of the protests left 355 dead, more than 2,000 injured and 100,000 exiled according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Ortega justified the repression by stating that his government faced “an attempted coup.”
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