[WHRD Alert] NICARAGUA Somoto police detain and publically display defender, a member of Blue and White National Unity.

Danelia Argüello Cano

The right to defend rights, civil and political rights.

THE FACTS – On Tuesday, February 16, Somoto police agents arbitrarily detained Danelia Argüello Cano, a human rights defender and member of the Blue and White National Unity Movement.  

At 3:30 in the afternoon Danelia was drinking a cup of coffee on the sidewalk of the home of citizen Gonzalo Hernández, when a patrol truck pulled up, carrying 12 police and special forces agents with a clearly menacing attitude. Their leader told them that they did not have permission to get together because they “were delinquents who were destabilizing the government.” Danilia decided to stay there until she finished her coffee, and that’s when the chief police agent ordered her detention. 

After being handcuffed, Daniela and Gonzalo were not allowed to board the patrol truck; instead, they were obliged to walk through the city streets, thereby revealing their detention to townspeople. Once inside the police station, they were held in a preventive cell for half an hour. Before releasing them, the Somoto Police Chief threatened Daniela and warned her that all of her political rights were restricted. 

Danelia and her family have been subjected to acts of harassment and surveillance by both police and civilian forces for the last nine months. Documented incidents include constant harassment at their home, threats, persecution, illegal investigations, and restrictions to their freedom of expression, movement, and assembly.  

In view of the above, we express our concern over the integrity and security of Danelia Argüello Cano and her family. We understand this campaign of harassment and attacks against her, not only as a repressive measure to try to demobilize her due to her role as defender and political leader, both locally and in national spaces, but also as a clear act of aggression with gender components, given that no figure of masculine leadership has been attacked and publically exhibited as Danelia was yesterday. 

We of IM- Defensoras demand respect for peaceful gatherings, freedom of circulation, and freedom  organization. Likewise, we demand an end to the harassment of persons organized in spaces of activism and political participation, especially women and women human rights defenders. 

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