Nicaragua opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro sentenced to 8 years imprisonment

Cristiana Chamorro, former director of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, holds a meeting with leaders of the "Ciudadanos por la Libertad" (CXL) party to formalize her intentions to register as a presidential pre-candidate for the party, in Managua on June 1, 2021.
Cristiana Chamorro

Nicaraguan opposition leader Cristiana Chamorro has been given an eight-year sentence after being found guilty of money-laundering.

Ms Chamorro says the charges were politically motivated and designed to stop her from running in November’s election, which saw President Daniel Ortega win a fifth term in office.

She was one of seven presidential hopefuls detained ahead of the poll. The 68-year-old is expected to be kept under house arrest.

M Chamorro was seen by many in the opposition as their best hope of defeating Mr Ortega in the election.

She comes from one of Nicaragua’s most influential families. Her father was the editor of the newspaper La Prensa, which opposed the autocratic Somoza family that ruled Nicaragua for decades. He was assassinated in 1978.

Her mother, Violeta Chamorro, won the 1990 election to become the first female president in Latin America, putting an end to Daniel Ortega’s first 11 years as president.

Shortly after Cristiana Chamorro announced she would run for president, prosecutors accused her of “abusive management [and] ideological falsehood” during her time at the helm of a media foundation she had led until early 2021.

At her trial, which was held behind closed doors, Ms Chamorro remained defiant. According to opposition news site 100% Noticias, she said that “they want to stain my name, but they will not succeed”.

Ms Chamorro’s brother, Pedro Joaquín, and two former employees of the foundation, as well as Ms Chamorro’s driver, also received sentences ranging between seven and 13 years in prison. Ms Chamorro told the judge that “you’re accusing five honourable people”.

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