Another worrying case, although it did not occur in a rural area, was the murder of Bryan Murillo López, a 22-year-old man who was killed by police officers inside his own home in the city of León. Police violently broke in Murillo’s house at 4:30 am on Wednesday, July 17. Murillo died from three shots in the chest. The relatives of the young man presume that there may be political reasons behind the attack, since he participated in the protests and marches that took place last year.
In the same event, as a result of police violence, two other members of the same family were injured: Kenner Murillo López and his brother-in-law Javier Cortez Castillo. The Police released a statement that referred to the victims as criminals, however, the mothers of the youths presented evidence that the police themselves had no records for any of the supposed cases.
Another form of repression that has continued for 15 months since the beginning of the human rights crisis is the arbitrary detention of both protesters and former political prisoners.
One of the most recent cases is that of Jaime Enrique Navarrete, who was kidnapped in front of his house by police officers on Wednesday, July 24, and who is now being prosecuted for the crimes of possession of narcotics and illegal carrying of firearms. According to local media, Navarrete was brought before the judge with a broken nose and bruises all over his body due to the beatings he received in police custody.
Edwin Altamirano, another political prisoner, was also arrested on Thursday, July 17, at his home in Managua. According to his relatives, police officers entered the house with violence and without a warrant and took him away without explaining the reason for his arrest.
Two other young men, Kevin Orlando López, from Estelí, and Brayan Cruz Calderón, from Managua, both former political prisoners, were captured in June and July and are being charged with common crimes such as drug possession and robbery with intimidation.
This type of capture has also been committed against citizens publicly known as opponents of the government in different cities of the country, although in several cases releases have been reported a couple of days after the arbitrary detentions.
“We are receiving daily reports of threats, not only of aggression or surveillance, but direct threats of death,” explains Marlin Sierra, who has received complaints from across the country, especially from the cities of Matagalpa, Jinotega, Estelí and Managua.
Persecution of human rights defenders
Human rights defenders and lawyers of political prisoners have also been the target of persecution and intimidation by police groups.
The latest case occurred on Friday, July 26, with the arrest of the lawyer of the Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH, for its initials in Spanish), María Oviedo, who was arrested by police officers in the city of Masaya. Police accused her of “obstruction of functions” in court. After two days of being detained, the court granted alternate measures to Oviedo, so that she will face the penal process from outside of prison.