Free Amaya Coppens and other political prisoners in Nicaragua
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Our dear friend, sister and daughter Amaya was kidnapped by the Nicaraguan paramilitary forces and is being detained in prison. Her crime? Speaking up against the government and its violent repression of peaceful protests.
Amaya is a tireless human rights defender who led students with courage and generosity, while hundreds of fellow protestors were killed on the streets. It’s now our turn to fight for her. Please sign this petition and help us get Amaya free.
Amaya is only 23, but she has the heart of an activist. An outstanding and deeply empathetic student, she has championed peaceful nonviolent resistance and cares deeply about indigenous rights, women’s rights and the environment. As a teenager she won a scholarship and represented Nicaragua at a boarding school for global peace - United World College.
Earlier this year Amaya was a 5th year medical student in León, Nicaragua. Top of her class, she was looking forward to finishing her degree so she could use it to help people. In April, mass anti-government protests broke out all over the country and the government responded with deadly force. Seeing this, Amaya chose to put her studies aside and stepped up as a local leader and spokesperson for the 19th of April Student Movement peacefully struggling for justice and democracy.
On the evening of September 10th, Amaya was kidnapped by a paramilitary group while on her way home with a friend, Sergio Midence. The group was not from the police, and neither did they have arrest warrants. It took the police 48 hours to formally announce her detention.
The first week of Amays imprisonment, she was held at El Chipote, a prison known for human rights abuses such as the use of torture and sexual violence for interrogating prisoners. Amaya was detained without being allowed to speak to her lawyer, without being presented to a judge within the 48 hour legal limit, and without contact with her parents. As you can imagine, her friends and family were sick with worry.
After a week, Amaya was presented to a judge and charged with acts of “terrorism”, “kidnapping” and “illegal possession of firearms”, amongst other accusations. She is now held at La Esperanza women’s prison and awaiting her trial.
Many of Amaya’s friends and fellow students have also been arrested, some have been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. According to The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights there are currently more than 345 political prisoners in Nicaragua. Every week, activists, students and other civilians are being taken by force on the street or in their homes. The Nicaraguan government has forbidden public demonstrations of any kind, in the hopes of repressing their opponents. They don’t hesitate to throw anyone in El Chipote – including children.
We need all the support we can get. Please sign this petition to ask Nicaraguan authorities for the immediate release of all political prisoners detained on the grounds of the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Please help us end political oppression and violence in Nicaragua. Help us to free hundreds of human rights activists. Help us to protect our dear daughter, sister and friend, Amaya. Sign and share this petition with all your contacts and follow our progress on our Facebook page.
Many international organisations have condemned the Nicaraguan government’s actions, and many support Amayas case. [Links below for more information]
Amnesty International: Urgent Action call for Amaya and other political prisoners [Sept. 2018]
Front Line Defenders: profile on Amaya
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