[WHRD Alert] NICARAGUA / Persistence of harassment, threats, and infingements on the rights, integrity and health of attorney Yonarqui Martínez

Yonarqui Martínez García

Attorney and human rights defender

THE FACTS – This June, the attorney and human rights defender Yonarqui Martínez has received threats in social media due to her accompaniment of political prisoners in the context of the Nicaraguan sociopolitical crisis of 2018. Coupled with this, she has experienced health problems stemming from the attitude of judge Melvin Vargas, who obliges her to participate in a six-hour trial without allowing a pause for her to take her prescribed medicine even though she has requested a break any number of times.

Ever since she began to support victims of political persecution and arbitrary criminalization, Yonarqui Martínez herself has also been subjected to repeated attacks, harassment, and other forms of State violence. In February of 2020, agents of the National Police threatened to search her home in search of a political prisoner who had been released. On May 21, while she was compiling evidence in support of her defendants in Moyogalpa, Rivas, Yonarqui was retained by police officers, who obliged her to get out of her vehicle so that they could look for alleged arms. Due to persecution and surveillance, Yonarqui was unable to leave immediately, thereby risking her physical security and freedom.

All the harassment and threats by police, paramilitary and courtroom security agents have prompted a deterioration of the defender’s health due to the continual stress that she experiences.

The attacks against her in 2020 form part of pattern of political persecution orchestrated by the ruling FSLN party against women human rights defenders in the country, implemented by public security (police) and para-State agents drawn from the party militancy and paramilitary forces.

We of IM-Defensoras and the Nicaraguan Initiative of Women Defenders issue an Alert to the international community, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, and the Rapporteurship on Human Rights Defenders and Justice Operators of the IACHR to stay abreast of the situation of Yonarqui Martínez and other persecuted political defenders.

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