European parliament scolds Nicaragua over ‘democratic crisis’

Spain's member of the European Parliament Ramon Jauregui addresses the media next to his colleagues Gabriel Mato and Javier Nart during a news conference at the end of their visit to Nicaragua to address the current political crisis of the Nicaraguan people in Managua on January 26, 2019. (REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas)
Updated 27 January 2019

European parliament scolds Nicaragua over ‘democratic crisis’

  • Nicaragua has been convulsed in the past months by some of its worst political tension since a civil war in the 1980s
  • More than 300 people had been killed and over 500 incarcerated since President Ortega clamped down on demonstrators

MANAGUA, Nicaragua: A European Parliament delegation on Saturday urged Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to release political prisoners, permit the return of banned human rights groups and to restart dialogue with the opposition to end a months-long political crisis.
The delegation led by European Member of Parliament (MEP)Ramon Jauregui, a Socialist from Spain, told a news conference it would ask the European Parliament to issue a new resolution on the crisis.
For months, Nicaragua has been convulsed by some of its worst political tension since a civil war in the 1980s. An initial stand-off between protesters and the government in April over planned welfare cuts quickly descended into deadly clashes.
By the time the Ortega administration had clamped down on the protesters, more than 300 people had been killed and over 500 incarcerated, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, a group the government has blacklisted.
Rights groups say four radio stations and one TV station have closed, and dozens of journalists have been beaten. The Ortega government says there is freedom of expression and has accused the opposition of seeking to mount a coup to oust him.
“We don’t believe the government’s story of a coup d’état,” told the news conference Javier Nart, a Spanish Liberal MEP who as a journalist covered the Nicaraguan revolution that led to the 1979 ouster of dictator Anastasio Somoza by Ortega’s Sandinistas.
“The repression of protests was excessive. The population is demanding more freedom and democracy. Nicaragua is going through a major crisis of democracy and the rule of law,” he added.
The Nicaraguan government did not respond to a request from Reuters on the allegations made by the delegation.
The European members of parliament said the Ortega government allowed them to hold meetings with all sectors of society, including political prisoners. But they noted that several opposition leaders suffered persecution after they had taken part in the meetings. (Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Editing by Sandra Maler)


Al-Qaeda claims Pakistan detained wife of its chief Zawahiri

Updated 23 August 2019

Al-Qaeda claims Pakistan detained wife of its chief Zawahiri

  • Zawahiri, an Egyptian, became leader of Al-Qaeda following the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan
  • He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the region

ISLAMABAD: Al-Qaeda has accused Pakistani security forces of detaining the wife of its chief, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and two other families of the insurgent group’s “martyrs” for nearly a year.
In a statement, the leadership of Al-Qaeda on Friday alleged “treacherous Pakistani forces” captured Zawahiri’s wife and others as they left the former Taliban stronghold of Waziristan bordering Afghanistan about a year ago due to continuous airstrikes.
It said: “We ... hold Pakistan’s government and its treacherous army and their American masters responsible for their criminal acts.”
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian, became leader of Al-Qaeda following the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by US Navy SEALS. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the region.