A U.N. human rights groups said Thursday the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega executed at least 40 people and ordered hospitals not to treat demonstrators wounded in antigovernment protests.
The U.N. Human Rights Experts Group on Nicaragua said the abuses constituted "crimes against humanity." Ortega jailed opponents and outlawed civic groups following the 2018 protests, which he claimed were part of a foreign-orchestrated plot to oust him.
The group’s presented its report in Geneva, Switzerland. The report also condemned Ortega’s government for stripping 222 opponents of their nationality, after they were loaded aboard a plane and flown to the United States last month.
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Ortega's government engaged in "extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, torture, and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," according to the report. The Nicaraguan government has refused to recognize the group.
The report found that "between 70 and 80% of the deaths (of demonstrators) were caused by firearms, and the majority (of the wounds) were in vital areas" of protesters' bodies.
The report said those implicated in the killings include Ortega's Frente Sandinista party, its youth group, government employees, former members of the military and even street gang members recruited by people linked to high-ranking officials.
Police and doctors demanded that relatives sign documents renouncing their rights to an autopsy of the victims' bodies or to file criminal complaints in the deaths.