Group says 317 dead in Nicaragua violence

Three-and-a-half months of political violence in Nicaragua has claimed 317 lives so far, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said on Thursday.

The victims included 21 police officers and 23 children, according to the report.

President Daniel Ortega has acknowledged 195 deaths, while a parliamentary Truth Commission puts the death toll at 265 and the human rights group Asociacion Nicaraguense Pro Derechos Humanos (ANPDH) as high as 448.

The IACHR reported “the intensification of the repression’’ against protesters and said it had “alarming information’’ on “judicial persecution and criminalisation’’ of government opponents.

The IACHR issued its report as the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) was preparing to discuss the possible creation of a commission to monitor the crisis in Nicaragua.

The OAS earlier issued a resolution asking Ortega to stage early elections, a request that the president has rejected.

The Central American country has been in turmoil since April 18, when protests erupted against controversial social security reforms.

President since 2007, Ortega already held the office between 1985 and 1990, and coordinated a Junta of National Reconstruction between 1979 and 1985.

The former leftist guerrilla has been accused of ruthlessly clinging to power in an attempt to enrich his family and entourage.



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