Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said on Wednesday, before thousands of Nicaraguans who ratified their support for the Sandinista Government, he would ask Costa Rica to hand over Nicaraguan refugees who committed crimes in the context of a political crisis.

Nicaragua president Daniel Ortega

Ortega said he will ask Costa Rica “a list of people who are seeking asylum” to indicate who committed crimes in the context of the protests that affect the country and should be tried by its justice system.

But Costa Rica said the information is confidential, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying  “it can not give details about asylum seekers or refugees since it is sensitive information that is governed by the principle of confidentiality.

“We are going to tell them very clearly,” Ortega warned during a party rally made up of pro-government and Sandinista supporters.

Ortega also said that Nicaraguans who “do not have (criminal) cases on them or who have not committed crimes can return and no one is going to touch them, and they can reconnect with their families.”

“Those who feel free of sin, can return, with the assurance that no one is going to detain (arrested) them,” the president promised.

He indicated that between April and June some 26,000 people left for Costa Rica “not because they are criminals,” but because of the political tensions that Nicaragua is experiencing.

According to the United Nations and Costa Rica immigration, the number of Nicaraguans who have taken refuge in Costa Rica because of the political crisis unleashed by the opposition protests that demand the resignation of Ortega, is 23,000.

On Tuesday, Costa Rica’s director of immigration, Raquel Vargas, confirmed a big drop in refugee claims this month, going from 21,000 in June and July to only 5,000 this month.

Since the demonstrations began on April 18, the tally is from 300 to 450 the number of dead, and 2,000 wounded and an unspecified number of detained and missing persons.


Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.