MANAGUA (Reuters) – A judge in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, on Thursday sentenced two French citizens to eight years in jail, according to a human rights group, on charges of conspiracy amid a wave of convictions against relatives of jailed or exiled opponents.
Jeannine Horvilleur and her daughter Ana Alvarez, the wife and daughter, respectively, of an exiled opposition leader, were arrested last September and charged with conspiracy and undermining the nation’s integrity, an accusation that President Daniel Ortega’s administration has repeatedly leveled against opponents.
“We repudiate these actions by the regime and the judiciary,” the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights said in a statement. “We demand their immediate release because they are innocent.”
Nicaragua´s government did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
The human rights group said authorities had confiscated assets such as vehicles and mobile phones belonging to the two French citizens, as well as one Nicaraguan.
Last October, the French government said it was “deeply concerned” about the arrest of its two citizens.
Javier Alvarez, Horvilleur’s husband and Alvarez’s father, who is based in Costa Rica, said the government was targeting his relatives in an act of political revenge: “My wife and daughter are in prison because of revenge against me,” he told Reuters.