Nicaraguan exiles who emigrated from the country say their lives have become fraught with fear and violence since the election of President Daniel Ortega, as he seeks to secure a fifth term in office on Sunday, in violation of a constitutional limit. Some describe being harassed by authorities who appear unwilling to stop criminal activity by Ortega’s government.
Tarek Zahi, a 25-year-old social activist, said he witnessed authorities attack a gang of young men who had gathered outside his window, and later found a group had looted his house and burned the contents of his refrigerator and a TV. He recounted the warning he received from a small-town policeman who assaulted him after the scuffle.
“I said, ‘Don’t be afraid. We’re not going to fight, but we know who you are,’” Mr. Zahi said in an interview on Wednesday. He said the officer claimed to be an intelligence officer, and said he would be watching his actions.
Zahi was eventually arrested, along with four other friends, and held in a detention center for the blind until his release the next day, he said. He said he was not called before a judge to face charges of theft or vandalism. The city attorney issued a statement saying that the robbery and arson did not violate the law, and the two other defendants will face trial.
Another activist, Roberto Madrigal, 26, whose house was set on fire, said he was also threatened by authorities and had been warned that he could face charges.
Madrigal accused the police of intimidating him and members of his family, causing them to flee the country in 2017.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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