Nicaragua protests against UN for criticizing anti-terrorism law

Friends and relatives attend the funeral of Jose Medina, who died on the weekend during clashes between pro government militias and protestors, in Masaya, Nicaragua, Jul. 16, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/Jorge Torres

Managua, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- The Government of Nicaragua on Tuesday condemned a statement by the United Nations that said an anti-terrorism law passed by the National Assembly could be used to convict protesters amid a national crisis that has left hundreds dead since April.

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said in a press briefing note on Tuesday that the new terrorism law approved on Jul. 9 by the National Assembly, has “a very broad definition of terrorism, which raises concerns that it could be used against people taking part in protests.”

The Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in a statement on Tuesday that “we strongly reject this gross manipulation by the High Commissioner of the sovereign right and obligation of the State of Nicaragua to legislate in accordance with international conventions and treaties in order to avoid money laundering and terrorist financing.”

The ministry said that by questioning the law, the OHCHR has become an accomplice of the actions condemned by the Nicaraguan Legislation.

“This type of declaration makes them accomplices of the actions that terrorist groups have carried out, killing Nicaraguans and destroying our country with the aim of overthrowing a constitutional government, democratically elected by our people,” added the ministry.

The statement concluded by demanding “the cessation of this type of statement and manipulation which do nothing to create the necessary climate for dialogue among the Nicaraguans.”

The law imposes a sentence of between 15 and 20 years in prison on those committing the crime of “terrorism.”