Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
These images show the words cut into a Nicaraguan citizen’s skin by the police force on the orders of their government “to spread fear” among the opposition, according to a top human rights lawyer.
Pablo Cuevas, an attorney from the Permanent Human Rights Commission (CPDH) of Nicaragua says that he has worked on eight cases of people “marked” by the police or paramilitary forces working on the orders of the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Cuevas believes that these practices are part of a plan from the State to spread fear among the opposition to the Nicaraguan government and its ruling party the Sandinista National Liberation Front.
Cuevas told local media: “The torture is calculated, it is not a product of the sick minds of police officers but an attitude commanded by the State with the purpose of spreading fear.
“The parents of an 18-year-old girl brought her here. She was terrified. She was unwilling to report the case. Taking this into account I am sure there are more cases. The victims are so terrified that they shut up, and they have reasons to be so.”
The pictures show victims with scars on their skin cut into the initials ‘PLOMO’ meaning “Patria, Libre o Morir” (Free Country or Death) and ‘FSLN’ the initials of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.
Cuevas said: “It is a message of submission. Since September 2018 I have already worked on eight cases. There are children and adults. The last one happened on Thursday to a 16-year-old boy from Carazo.”
The mother of the teenager, who wished to remain anonymous, told local media: “They took him near a cemetery and they put a piece of cloth in his mouth and they got him on a car. They marked him with the letters PLOMO and FSLN”
Reports said that the first victim in 2018 was a 14-year-old boy who was arrested by policemen when he was going to school because he was wearing a cap bearing the blue and white of the Nicaraguan flag which the opposition to the Sandinista government often use in demonstrations.
Leonardo Rivas Guevara, 23, was reportedly left on a road on the 16th June 2019 with his head shaved and the letters ‘FSLN’ carved into his back.
Cuevas said that all the victims have been involved in protests or actions against Ortega’s government.
The CPDH is one of the few human rights organisations still working in Nicaragua as most of them have reportedly been closed down by the government.
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