Mortal Blow to the Electoral System

After an arrest warrant was issued against Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, independent presidential pre-candidate in Nicaragua, the business sector believes that it is "evidence of the government's unwillingness to carry out free, fair, transparent, competitive and supervised elections."

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Following an accusation against Cristiana Maria Chamorro Barrios, filed by the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Office of Reception and Distribution of Cases and Writs of the Managua Courts, the authorities decided to issue a search and arrest warrant.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, the formal accusation against Chamorro was made for "abusive management, ideological falsehood, both in real concurrence with money laundering, goods and assets". Previously, the authorities had ordered the suspension of Chamorro's bank accounts.

The Judicial Power also informed that the Fifth District Court of Criminal Hearings granted the precautionary measures requested by the Prosecutor's Office and also disqualified Chamorro from holding public office.

The official statement issued by the Judicial Power on June 2, states that "... the citizen Cristiana María Chamorro Barrios is disqualified from holding institutional and public positions, as she is not in full enjoyment of her civil and political rights, due to the fact that she is in a Criminal Investigation Process."

From the COSEP statement:

Managua, June 2, 2021. The Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP), is aware of Statement No. 004-2021 issued by the Public Prosecutor's Office on June 1 of this year, by which in opposition to the individual constitutional rights of Maria Lilly Delgado Talavera, Maria Lourdes Arroliga Vanegas, Guillermo Jose Medrano and Cristiana Maria Chamorro Barrios, it is requesting the judicial authorities to apply specific "precautionary measures" against their fundamental human rights.

Particularly, the Public Prosecutor's Office requested the precautionary measure of disqualification from public office of Cristiana Chamorro Barrios "for not being in full enjoyment of her civil and political rights because she is in criminal proceedings" and filed charges that led to a search warrant and her arrest, with the clear and unconstitutional intention of preventing her from participating as a presidential candidate in next November's electoral process; This situation evidences the unwillingness of the government to carry out free, fair, transparent, competitive and observed elections in our country and thus obtain partisan advantages that allow them to illegitimately remain in power.

The request of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the subsequent resolution of the Fifth District Criminal Court of Managua, giving rise to the requested measures, constitute a clear violation of their political rights, since Article 47 of the Political Constitution establishes "that citizens' rights are suspended by the imposition of a serious corporal punishment or specific accessory penalties, and by an executed sentence of civil interdiction" and, consequently, Article 51, which establishes their right to run for public office, is violated. It also expressly violates the Criminal Procedural Code (CPP) in force, which does not contemplate disqualification as a precautionary measure in its Articles 166, 167 and 168.

The Public Prosecutor's Office must observe "the principle of legality and objectivity" that regulates its organic law and perform its functions in accordance with the Political Constitution and the laws, guaranteeing due process of law and respect for the fundamental rights and dignity of the persons subject to this arbitrary criminal process and the "principle of independence" to act without subordination to any power of the State or any authority.

The Justice System in observance of Article 34 of the Political Constitution must comply with "due process and effective judicial protection", as well as the guarantee of presumption of innocence until proven guilty according to law; and guarantee due defense and adequate means for the exercise of the same for all defendants.

Our obligation is to report to the nation and the international community that the actions of the Nicaraguan Justice System are being carried out with political objectives for the benefit of the governing party and constitute serious actions that impede the solution to the current socio-political crisis, the reestablishment of peace and democracy in our country.

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