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U.S. Sanctions Nicaraguan Judges for Rights Abuses

(FILE) Riot police patrol in front of the court building in Nicaragua.

The United States designated three Nicaraguan judges who are responsible for revoking the citizenship of more than 300 Nicaraguan citizens.

U.S. Sanctions Nicaraguan Judges for Rights Abuses
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The United States is taking additional action to hold accountable the repressive regime of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated three Nicaraguan judges who are responsible for revoking the citizenship of more than 300 Nicaraguan citizens, leaving many of these individuals stateless.

The three Nicaraguan magistrates include, Judge Nadia Camila Tardencilla Rodriguez, of the Second District Trial Court of Managua; Judge Ernesto Leonel Rodriguez Mejia, of the Managua Appeals Court; and Judge Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh Andino, of the First Criminal Appeal Court of Managua.

On February 10, 2023, Judge Andino announced the court’s decision to deport 222 Nicaraguan individuals, declaring them traitors to the nation.

Judge Tardencilla issued a judicial order on the same day that stripped prominent Catholic Bishop Rolando Jose Alvarez Lagos of his Nicaraguan citizenship and convicted him for treason, undermining national integrity and authority, aggravated obstruction, and spreading false news. Bishop Álvarez was given the opportunity to depart Nicaragua along with the 222 departing individuals but refused to go into exile. He now faces a 26 year prison sentence.

On February 15, 2023, judge Rodriguez announced the court’s decision to strip 94 Nicaraguan citizens of their nationality, declaring them traitors. The denationalized individuals were outspoken critics of the Ortega regime and included notable journalists, human rights defenders, and clergy.

“The Ortega regime continues to engage in anti-democratic actions that target the most vocal opposition figures in Nicaragua, including through its judicial system,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “The United States will continue to support the Nicaraguan people as they strive to restore democratic institutions.”

The United States, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “will continue to use available diplomatic and economic tools to promote accountability for the Ortega-Murillo regime’s abuses, reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Bishop Álvarez, and urge the restoration of civic space for the people of Nicaragua.”