Sunday 16 May 2021

The Sanchez Sisters: Imprisoned and Tortured in Nicaragua for Protesting

By Keyling T. Romero (Confidencial) – On her knees in a preventive holding cell at the infamous El Chipote interrogation jail, Yolanda Sanchez Moraga thought about her twelve-year-old daughter, while a guard threatened to cut off her hands and to give her over to some policemen to be raped. She cried with fear and in vain implored them to leave her in peace.

Ana Patricia and Yolanda Sanchez Moraga, political prisoners sentenced to six years in jail. Photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

Hours before, Yolanda and her sister Ana Patricia had gone to the march called “Together we’re a volcano”. They took a pair of Nicaraguan flags and were dressed in its colors: blue and white. When the march concluded, some people offered to give them a ride to near where they lived, and both accepted. Nevertheless, when they were passing by the area around Station V of the National Police, a patrol began to pursue the pick-up truck they were in. That was July 12, 2018.

- Advertisement -

“These dogs that are going around bothering the government must be killed,” they said to them, while both sisters and three other people were violently loaded into a mini-bus. A police official threw them in by their hair and hurled insults. Minutes later, they shot at the driver of the pick-up that had given them a ride, and Yolanda received some bullet fragments in her right leg. That’s why her leg was bleeding, as she remained on her knees being interrogated at the El Chipote jail.

The six people who were arrested that day were presented to the court as criminals; two months later, all were found guilty and sentenced to six and eight years, respectively. However, a few weeks ago, the sisters were able to leave their prison cell for a change in their punishment regime, from jail to house arrest.

“We left prison under conditions of family coexistence; that’s the name they gave it, but it turned out to be house arrest,” stated Ana Patricia, who affirmed that if the authorities had explained the new conditions fully when they were removed from the La Esperanza jail, she wouldn’t have left the prison. The day after dropping them at home, an official from the National Police arrived to confirm that the sisters were home and told them that they couldn’t go out, nor could they receive visits.

Isolated in the La Esperanza prison

- Advertisement -

Yolanda and Ana Patricia were imprisoned for seven months. They were there with Nelly Roque, Irlanda Jerez, Amaya Coppens and other female prisoners. Since the moment of their arrest, their human rights were disrespected. They were isolated, and forbidden to approach the other female prisoners. Yolanda went several months without a doctor to examine the wounds on her leg.

“They didn’t let us speak to anyone. They didn’t let us go out anywhere. They didn’t pass us the calls that are allowed the common prisoners. They had us watched in the cells through a woman who collaborates with them, according to what the other women told us,” declared Ana Patricia.

Initially, they were locked in a cell well removed from the others, with a red ribbon on it that signified danger. They were forbidden to approach the edge of the window, and they were locked in behind a double gate and a double lock. Sometime later, the windows, which at first were only closed off by metal bars, had wire mesh installed across them, obstructing the ventilation.

The treatment they experienced wasn’t as vicious as that of some of the other political prisoners who were leaders. Ana Patricia, for example, recalls the day that a group of guards tried to remove Irlanda Jerez, and the other prisoners opposed them and were beaten.

“We weren’t in Irlanda’s cell, but we expressed our unity by yelling, telling them that we were going to denounce them, since a visit was coming soon.  But they didn’t care and beat the women anyway. They didn’t beat us, but they did threaten us,” she recounted.

A terrible day

- Advertisement -

On September 18, 2018, Judge Wilfredo Ramirez of the Seventh Local Penal Court of Managua declared both of the Sanchez sisters guilty, as well as three other men who were also abducted the day of the “Together we’re a volcano” march. Both the sisters and Lenin Rojas, who was also given a ride that day, were sentenced to six years for the supposed crimes of illicit possession of explosives (mortars), illicit association to commit crimes, and illegal arms possession. Edwin Altamirano, owner of the pick-up truck, and Miguel Gonzalez were each given an eight-year prison sentence.

In addition, they were fined 5,931.3 cordobas [approximately US $178] and the pick-up they were traveling in that day was seized. During the legal process, the judge ordered them to be freed since the charges against them were less serious, but the prison authorities never obeyed that order.

“The only thing we did was to raise the blue and white flag, chorus some slogans, sing the national hymn and some protest songs. That was our crime,” the sisters said.

Scars from their prison stay

The life of the two Sanchez sisters changed completely in April. They joined the protests because they weren’t in agreement with the way the regime was acting, and they participated in all of the demonstrations they could. Yolanda was left unemployed when the massive lay-offs began in some of the companies affected by the country’s economic crisis.

“I felt the need to help in some way, even if just by shouting slogans at a march. If I could help in something, I did, because I didn’t agree with the way we were being treated,” Yolanda said.

She also admitted that because of the psychological tortures she experienced, she has trouble sleeping. She often can’t get to sleep until two or three in the morning. “I sleep because I know that I have to try and rest.  I don’t know why the nights are so hard. I’m afraid at night,” she stated in a trembling voice.

However, she noted that her greatest fear was that her father would get sick as a result of the siege they’re undergoing as political prisoners. He’s “a sick man in his elder years, and we’re afraid that this is affecting him since he already went through the fright of having his two daughters be prisoners.”

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Why Colombian protesters are taking to the streets

QCOLOMBIA – For the past two weeks, mass protests that started...

“Nicaragua is not a Republic, it is a 16th century monarchy”

TODAY NICARAGUA – If he wins the presidency of Nicaragua, the...


Costa Rica will buy two million more doses to accelerate vaccination

QCOSTARICA - The President of the Comision Nacional de Emergencias (CNE), Alexander Solis, announced this Monday afternoon that Costa Rica is purchasing an additional...

Costa Rica ranks first in human talent in Central America

QCOSTARICA - The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (IGCT) 2020 revealed that out of 132 countries, Costa Rica ranks 37th in human talent with a...

Q Media supports AmCham initiative to request donation of vaccines to the United States

QCOSTARICA - The Costa Rican North American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) this week began a petition to collect signatures to ask the United...

Recope requests the sixth consecutive increase in fuel prices for 2021

QCOSTARICA - The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo(RECOPE - the refinery that does not refine anything - requested the sixth consecutive fuel hike in 2021. As...

Who are the richest entrepreneurs in the region?

QCOSTARICA - 2020 was marked as a complex year worldwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the following are entrepreneurs who were not only...

66% of ICU patients are under 60 years of age

QCOSTARICA - Sunday night, 432 of the 1,188 covid patients in hospital are in Intensive Care Units (ICU), after suffering complications from covid-19. In the...

Travel agencies estimate 10,000 Costa Ricans who will travel to the United Stares to be vaccinated

QCOSTARICA - The demand of Costa Ricans to go to get vaccinated against covid-19 in the United States increased strongly from Semana Santa, so...

Health expands group 3 vaccination for people from 16 to 58 years

QCOSTARICA - Adolescents of 16 and 17 years old with some risk factor in case of falling ill with covid-19 will be part of...

Today’s Covid News: 32 deaths in the last 24 hours; 3,039 news cases

QCOSTARICA - Costa Rica reported this Thursday the highest number of deaths associated with covid-19 in a single day, since the start of the...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.