- Title: Nicaragua frees protesters who aided mothers on hunger strike
- Date: 31st December 2019
- Summary: MANAGUA, NICARAGUA (DECEMBER 30, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FREED POLITICAL PRISONER, PEDRO GUTIERREZ, WALKING DOWN STREET GUTIERREZ WALKING INTO HOUSE AND BEING HUGGED BY MOTHER VARIOUS OF GUTIERREZ HUGGING RELATIVES GUTIERREZ WITH HIS FAMILY GUTIERREZ HOLDING BOOK OF THE ORDER OF MALTA, THE ANCIENT CATHOLIC ORDER OF KNIGHTS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FREED POLITICAL PRISONER, PEDRO GUTIERREZ, SAYING: ''All of us, united, want them to become aware, so that the presidential couple (Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo) become aware, to open the doors to dialogue, which is the only means that will help us lead to peace and democracy in our country. That is my hope, for them to understand and to ask God to give them wisdom, humility.'' FREED POLITICAL PRISONER, FRANCISCO JIMENEZ, WALKING TOWARDS HOME / HUGGING RELATIVE VARIOUS OF JIMENEZ HUGGING RELATIVES (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FREED POLITICAL PRISONER, FRANCISCO JIMENEZ, SAYING: ''I believe it's fair (the mass release of prisoners) because we did not want power, money. We wanted to defend the people because if we - youngsters - didn't protest, who was going to do it? Old people did it and they were destroyed. We did it and we were jailed but it does not matter. We are still here.'' JIMENEZ WEARING BRACELET WITH COLOURS OF HONDURAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FREED POLITICAL PRISONER, FRANCISCO JIMENEZ, SAYING: ''I'm stronger because I overcame a strong challenge in there. Not everyone remains strong in there because of the torture.'' JIMENEZ HUGGING RELATIVE
- Embargoed: 14th January 2020 02:49
- Keywords: Nicaragua Ortega freed political prisoners
- Location: MANAGUA, NICARAGUA
- City: MANAGUA, NICARAGUA
- Country: Nicaragua
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BCB2NUV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Nicaraguan government said it freed more than 90 people on Monday (December 30) who rights groups say were jailed for anti-government activity, including about a dozen people who were arrested after ferrying water to a group of mothers on hunger strike inside a church.
Dozens of people have been jailed since April 2018, after demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega's attempt to cut welfare benefits escalated into broader protests of his rule.
The protests also left more than 300 people dead, according to rights groups.
The interior ministry said 91 people have been released as part of a "special act" aimed at national reconciliation, including prominent student protester Amaya Coppens.
The Nicaraguan and Belgian national, along with a dozen other protesters, delivered water last month to nine mothers who were on a hunger strike demanding the release of their children whom they consider to be political prisoners.
The police cut off water and electricity supplies to the church in the city of Masaya soon after the hunger strike began. The mothers were later transported to a hospital.
During the strike, the government accused 13 activists who brought water to the mothers of planning to carry out terrorist attacks.
On Monday, a video posted on social media showed Coppens waving a large blue-and-white Nicaraguan flag, chanting, "Yes, we did it!"
Another freed prisoner, Olga Valle, said in a separate video: "Families, take in your people. We left, we did it. Long live free Nicaragua."
The opposition Blue and White National Unity movement said about 80 people are still jailed for political reasons.
"We continue demanding the liberation of every single political prisoner," the grouping of opposition organizations said in a statement.
(Production: Rodolfo Pena Roja)
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