A Nicaraguan court on Wednesday handed a 10-year prison sentence to opposition leader Yubrank Suazo, provoking outrage from human rights groups that say he is innocent of any crime, reported DW, quoting news agencies AFP and EFE.
Suazo was sentenced to five years in jail for "conspiring to undermine national integrity" and another five years for spreading fake news, according to the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, where he served as director.
In a statement, the group said he was "prosecuted and sentenced without having committed any crime, or having any link with criminal structures."
Who is Yubrank Suazo?
Suazo, 31, participated in 2018 protests in his home town of Masaya against the government of President Daniel Ortega, part of a nationwide wave of demonstrations in which 355 died at the hands of security forces.
Masaya had declared itself a "dictator-free territory," referring to Ortega, an ex-guerilla who has ruled the country since 2007.
Suazo was arrested at the time but freed in 2019 as part of an agreement with the government mediated by the Catholic Church.
However, he was arrested again in May this year and put on trial.
A Nicaraguan NGO campaigning for political prisoners says about 190 opposition figures have been detained for political reasons. Some 45 of them were given jail sentences last year of up to 13 years for allegedly undermining national security.
Ortega was reelected in November after jailing several potential rivals. He accuses the US of aiding his opponents to try and oust him. Washington has sanctioned him and many in his inner circle.
More than 200,000 Nicaraguans have fled the country as civil liberties there decrease.