Nicaragua expels OAS missions investigating violent protests

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MANAGUA (Reuters) – Nicaragua on Wednesday expelled two missions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) dedicated to investigating anti-government protests that turned violent, the group said.

The government wrote in a letter to the Organisation of American States (OAS), which oversees the groups, that the missions had been suspended for failing to meet their objectives.

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The IACHR said in a statement that its Mechanism of Special Monitoring for Nicaragua (MESENI) would continue to operate from Washington.

“The IACHR reiterates that the situation in Nicaragua will continue to be a priority and reaffirms its commitment to the victims of human rights violations,” the statement said.

Nicaragua is reeling from one of its worst political crises since President Daniel Ortega regained power in 2007.

Since April, thousands have taken to the streets in the Central American country to demand Ortega’s resignation. Ortega’s opponents accuse the veteran leftist of attempting to cement an authoritarian family dynasty along with his wife, Rosario Murillo, whom he chose to be his vice president.

At least 322 people have died and more than 500 have been imprisoned over eight months of anti-government protests, according to human rights organizations.

Ana Maria Tello, the coordinator of the MESENI, told reporters that the foreign ministry had instructed the groups to leave Nicaragua immediately.

The suspension of the missions was announced one day before the presentation of a final report on the violence that took place between April 18 and May 30.

In October, one of the OAS groups criticized the public prosecutor’s inability to find those responsible for the deaths of protesters.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; writing by Julia Love; editing by Grant McCool)

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