Nicaragua: Legal attacks and harassment of women's human rights defenders

An open letter from Nicaraguan feminists calling for letters of support from regional and international groups:
"Dear colleagues from feminist and women’s organizations from different regions of the world:

We regret to inform you that in Nicaragua, a new action of the increased presence of fundamentalists attacking feminist for defending the human rights of women is taking place.

The so called National Association for Human Rights (ANPDH), which has legal registration (even though their activities and headquarters are unknown), an organization sponsored by the Catholic right wing and the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of the country, have filed a case on the crime of coverage and omission on the case of rape and others (as parallel action to the trial against the father of Rosita – the 9 years old little girl that was raped and got pregnant as a result of it), who has been sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment), against the following colleagues:

1.- Ana Maria Pizarro, member of the Regional Coordination of the Campaign September 28 for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean
2.- Juanita Jiménez, person responsible for Advocacy of the Network of Women against Violence (until recently)
3.- Lorna Norori, Psychologist
4.- Luisa Molina Arguello, spokesperson of the Federation of NGOs working with Children and Adolescents
5.- Martha Maria Blandón, from the Sexuality, Maternity and Rights Forum and IPAS Central America
6.- Martha Munguia, director of the Center Mujeres Acción Ya
7.- Mayra Sirias, current spokesperson of the Network of Women against Violence and member of its Coordinating Body
8.- Violeta Delgado, former Executive Coordinator of the Network of Women against Violence
9.- Yamileth Mejia, person responsible of Political Training of the Network of Women against Violence (until recently)

Given the seriousness of the case, the Women’s Autonomous Movement of Nicaragua has disseminated the following letter:

Dear friends,

The General Attorney’s Office of the Republic, the National Association for Human Rights filed a case against 9 well-known leaders of the women’s movement of Nicaragua, accused as responsible of committing some criminal acts.

These compañeras are members of different civil society spaces and organizations, they have a long history of struggle in favor of women’s rights, freedom and justice, democracy and socioeconomic development of the country, and most of them are members of the National Network of Women against Violence. These social activists had an important participation in support of the denounce presented by Zoilamérica Narváez of sexual abused by her step-father, the current President of the Republic

Through information we received today, the afternoon of November 22nd, we know that the General’s Attorneys Office has instructions to proceed immediately in prosecuting the case, preparing the accusation and doing a fast trial guaranteeing a sentence against the nine accused, to take them to jail.

With this decision, backed by the presidential couple, (Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo) an action of political vengeance and repression is being implemented for those who supported Zoilamérica’s quest for justice. Also, they are trying to negatively affect the credibility of women’s spaces and organizations that with courage have always denounced crimes of violence and sexual abuse of all the victims that have approach them for assistance.

We call all women’s and other civil society organizations to mobilize against this repressive action of political terrorism and to defend the rights and freedom of our compañeras, and to reject through different means the actions of the presidential couple and the Attorney’s office.

Meanwhile, the Network of Women against Violence has call on all its members to coordinate a joint response, that several other organizations from all over the country are supporting, as well as organizations with which the women’s movements has alliances and joint work, as well as diverse groups promoting sexual diversity.

It does not go without saying that we expect all sorts of expressions of solidarity by the international women’s and feminist movements, which has historically and permanently denounced the arbitrary actions that are faced by women who are struggling to advance rights for all.

Your solidarity messages can be sent to the email address of the Campaign 28 of September:"

Thanking you all in advance for your support,

Patricia Orozco A.
Regional Coordinator of the Campaign 28 of September

In an effort to intimidate feminist activists, the government in Nicaragua, in collaboration with right wing groups, has charged 9 renowned women's human rights defenders with criminal violations for their work. The women, notorious for their defense of women's rights, have a long history of struggle in favor of freedom, justice, democracy and socioeconomic development in Nicaragua.

They are being persecuted for crimes of omission surrounding the controversial case of Rosita, a 9-year-old girl who was raped, became pregnant, and received a therapeutic abortion, a form of abortion outlawed in Nicaragua in 2006.

Women’s Autonomous Movement of Nicaragua / Campaign 28