Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This 26-year-old activist has claimed she was stripped and humiliated in a Nicaraguan prison after being arrested for supporting protesting mothers on hunger strike.
After 46 days behind bars, Nicaraguan-Belgian activist Amaya Coppens, 26, was reportedly released on the 30th December with 91 other political prisoners by the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Front party.
Coppens told Spanish newspaper El Mundo: “We hope 2020 will be a victorious year after experiencing terrible things.”
Coppens was reportedly arrested in November with 15 other activists who tried to visit nine women on hunger strike. The hunger-striking women were reportedly in a church in Masaya in Nicaragua demanding the release of 150 political prisoners of Ortega’s government. Some of them were the mothers of some of the political prisoners.
The activists were dubbed ‘La Banda de los Aguadores’ (The Gang of Water Carriers’) by local media because they were carrying water and food to the other protestors.
Coppens said: “I was detained for 46 days for no reason. We were not tortured because of the media attention we have received, but we know many Nicaraguans who were.”
But the activist and her family claimed that although not tortured, she was molested by prison staff who made her and other inmates strip naked at least three times a day.
Coppens told El Mundo: “They took me to El Chipote (Nicaraguan prison) where they first make you strip off and then force you to do 20 squats. I asked if I could make a phone call and they told me I had no rights in there.”
According to family members, they also manipulated Coppens’ food to make her ill.
Reports said that Coppens was also arrested in 2018 after leading a protest against Vice-President and first lady Rosario Zambrana.
According to local media, her case received widespread media attention and was even discussed in the European Parliament.
Coppens, who is reluctant to flee to Europe to take advantage of her dual nationality, told Spanish national TV channel ‘Canal 2’: “The world has to know that there is a dictatorship in Nicaragua.”
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