The Nicaraguan justice decided this Thursday to prosecute and keep in preventive prison the presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro and other accused of money laundering, 67 days before the general elections. The Public Ministry (Prosecutor’s Office) reported that “the judicial authority maintained the precautionary measure of preventive detention and referred the case to trial,” during a hearing held at the El Chipote prison.
The 67-year-old opposition woman has been under house arrest since June 2, after the Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation for money laundering through the foundation named after her mother, former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro.
Cristiana Chamorro has denied the charges, attributing the case to the will of the government of Daniel Ortega to prevent him from participating in the elections on November 7. The NGO, which closed in February, is a training center for journalists and defense of press freedom that for 20 years was under the direction of Cristiana Chamorro.
Polls rank her as a favorite after President Daniel Ortega, who is running for a fourth successive term. The 75-year-old president was in government between 1979 and 1990, first at the head of a Governing Board and then as president. In 1990 he was defeated by former President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and returned to power in 2007 where he remains to this day.
The Nicaraguan electoral process is emerging amid a wave of arrests of 34 opponents and critics of Ortega, including seven candidates for the presidential seat, including Cristiana Chamorro. Along with Cristiana, his brothers will also be prosecuted: Pedro, who is in prison, and Carlos Fernando, in exile.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) condemned the secrecy of the authorities around this trial, the secret hearings, as well as the hostile attitude of the police towards the relatives of the accused.