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Nicaragua strips 94 political opponents of citizenship

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega has consolidated his power since popular protests erupted in 2018.
INTI OCON
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AFP via Getty Images
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega has consolidated his power since popular protests erupted in 2018.

MEXICO CITY — In its continuing crackdown on dissent, Nicaragua has stripped 94 people of their citizenship.

On state TV, Appeals Court Justice Ernesto Rodríguez Mejía said Wednesday the 94 Nicaraguans were declared traitors. Rodríguez Mejía did not say whether the Nicaraguans were tried, but he said they were now "fugitives of the law," sentenced to a civil death — losing all of their rights, their property and their citizenship for life.

The list includes human rights defenders, journalists and two of Nicaragua's most prominent writers — the poet Gioconda Belli and novelist Sergio Ramírez.

Vilma Núñez, the most prominent human rights defender in Nicaragua, was also denationalized.

This comes just days after Nicaragua banished 222 political prisoners. They were put on a plane to the United States and stripped of their citizenship, under a new law that seeks to overwrite a constitutional ban on denationalization.

Analysts say this marks a deepening authoritarianism in Nicaragua. Since popular protests erupted in 2018, President Daniel Ortega has consolidated his power.

The International Federation for Human Rights said this move constituted a "clear attack against civil society and human rights defenders in the country."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.