Managua’s extradition of opponents of Daniel Ortega’s regime worries Nicaraguans in Costa Rica

Douglas Perez on his way to La Modelo prison in Managua, Nicaragua.

Chained at hands and feet, Daniel Ortega’s regime submits to Nicaraguan rival Douglas Gamliel Perez CentenoThe 44-year-old was handed over to Nicaragua by Costa Rican authorities on February 16.

Perez Centeno’s extradition raises concerns nicaragua exile Those who are in Costa Rica because they believe the door is being opened for future extraditions of opponents sought by the Ortega dictatorship in Nicaragua.

“Serious precedent may be based on the fact that unless the Costa Rican State grants asylum to a politically persecuted individual, the Nicaraguan State may file full criminal charges against that individual and request his or her extradition. Could.”, says Nicaraguan lawyer and opponent Juan Diego Barberena, exiled in Costa Rica.

Douglas Gamliel Perez Centeno, alias flash of lightningHe has been charged by the Nicaraguan regime for alleged participation in the murder of a police officer and an administrative worker during an attack on a cocoa company vehicle, among other crimes, in the Buena Vista community in the municipality of El Castillo. Río San Juan, bordering Costa Rica.

He is also needed with Perez Centeno Reynaldo Picado Miranda, alias Omar, for the same crimes. Both are former Nicaraguan guerrillas who fought against the Sandinista revolution in the 1980s, participated in protests against the Ortega regime in 2018 and fled to Costa Rica that year due to the dictatorship’s repression against opponents. .

Both were arrested in Costa Rica soon after the attack they are accused of.

According to Nicaraguan police, Pérez, along with others, are the perpetrators of two deaths that occurred on October 1, 2022, when 10 men armed with military rifles, shotguns and pistols carried out a robbery accompanied by intimidation and intimidation of workers of Agro Industrial del Río. Was done. Company, that they were going to pay payroll in a van.

“When the men carried out the robbery with intimidation, they killed fellow police officer Araceli Marisol Diaz Salinas, 20, and fellow officer Pedro Pablo Chavarría Rivas, 56, who were employees of the company Agro Industrial del Rio,” the Commissioner General said. Did it.” Jaime Venegas, Nicaraguan Inspector General of Police.

“The amount stolen from the company Agro Industrial del Rio was 443,938.63 cordobas ($12,121.4), money that corresponded to the pay sheets. Similarly, a laptop, AK rifles owned by the National Police, a firearm and two pistols kept by the company’s security guards were stolen,” he said.

Another accused, Ramon Antonio Argenal MendozaCaptured in Managua and sentenced to life imprisonment and 103 years in prison for the crimes of aggravated robbery, simple kidnapping, organized crime, use and trafficking of prohibited weapons, aggravated murder and frustrated murder.

On June 23, 2023, the Puntarenas Trial Court decided to “accept and declare in favor of the extradition request initiated by Nicaragua” against Douglas Gamaliel Pérez Centeno and Reynaldo Picado Miranda, and on August 22, an appeals court Extradition order confirmed. A period of two months was fixed to complete it.

The decision of the Costa Rican judicial authorities is based on an extradition treaty signed 130 years ago between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which establishes in its Article 1 a commitment between the two countries to mutually hand over persons seeking asylum in their respective territories. Is. and who have been convicted or prosecuted for crimes such as murder, manslaughter, parricide, poisoning, infanticide or abortion, as well as as perpetrators or accomplices of attempts to commit these crimes; Statutory rape, rape, kidnapping among others.

Consulted by a Nicaraguan expert on security issues infobae When the deportation was announced, he expressed his objection to the case because, he says, “the line between political and criminal action is not separated.”

“They are people who are opposition, yes they were opposition, but in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica they are involved in criminal acts,” said the expert, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

Extradition sets serious precedent

For Nicaraguan lawyer Juan Diego Barberena, the extradition of Douglas Gamaliel Pérez Centeno “sets a dangerous precedent because proper procedures were not followed, for example, that Costa Rican judicial and police authorities had knowledge at the time of the execution of it. “Extradition is a surrender of judicial power to the political agendas of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.”

He says an opponent of the Ortega Murillo regime in Nicaragua lacks basic guarantees of due process and basic rules at trial.

Under any circumstances, he says, Pérez Centeno should never have been sent to Nicaragua. “Article 31 of the Costa Rican Constitution establishes that the Costa Rican territory shall serve as a refuge for all persons who persecuted politicians And in the event that a person, due to any legal imperative, has to be expelled from this Costa Rican territory, they will never be returned to that State where it will be considered that they have been politically persecuted. It’s a constitutional imperative,” he says.

President of Costa Rica, rodrigo chavesThe Nicaraguans distanced themselves from the extradition, pointing out that it was an independent decision of the Costa Rican justice system.

“Regardless of information circulating in the media that links the executive branch to the extradition of Nicaraguan Douglas Pérez Centeno, the government categorically denies these claims,” ​​he said in a statement on Sunday, February 18. “Extradition is a 100% judicial process with the participation and execution only of the authorities of that branch of the Republic. “We clarify that this process, verified and developed by jurisdiction, and being judicial in nature, does not involve executive branch officials in its entirety,” he said.

However, Pérez Centeno’s defense lawyer, Costa Rican Daguerre Hernández, confirms that the Costa Rican executive has direct responsibility for the extradition of the Nicaraguan rival, as he carried out a summary procedure for it. refuse shelter and asylum Douglas Gamliel Pérez Centeno, thus paving the way for extradition.

In August 2023, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship refused to grant political asylum to Pérez Centeno in a resolution signed by Rodrigo Chaves, among others.

“If they transfer us to Nicaragua, they will hand us over to us on a silver platter for the regime to murder us,” Reynaldo Picado Miranda, the other opponent in a Costa Rican prison awaiting extradition, told the Public File platform.

“I want them to shoot you with a single bullet, but they don’t kill you with a single bullet, there’s torture, that’s the first thing they’ll do, as far as they can, they take you to the hospital And unless you die in one of them, return you”, he said in a telephone interview with the detainee.

Juan Diego Barberena explains that the Costa Rican state has a tradition of opening its doors to those seeking international protection, but he believes that with the recent extradition “if the Costa Rican state does not show up, dangerous cracks could open, Let’s say, the will to maintain that tradition.”

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