Nicaragua orders arrest of prominent writer Sergio Ramirez

Nicaraguan prosecutors have ordered the arrest of an award-winning novelist who served as vice president under President Daniel Ortega, making him the latest perceived opponent of the left-wing government to be charged amid an ongoing crackdown as elections near.

Sergio Ramirez, who in 2017 won the Premio Cervantes, the most prestigious literary award in the Spanish-speaking world, is accused of “incitement of hate” and “conspiracy” – charges that have been used several times in the arrests of political opponents and candidates set to run against Ortega in November’s election. He has also been accused of inciting hatred and conspiring to destabilise Nicaragua. Dozens of influential Nicaraguans have already been detained on similar charges as part of a crackdown on critics of President Daniel Ortega. Among those detained are several presidential hopefuls, union leaders and newspaper editors. Seventy-eight-year-old Ramirez had been an official in the Sandinista government that came to power in 1979 and was vice president under Ortega during his first term from 1985 to 1990. He fell out with Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front in 1995 and retired from politics soon after, but remained a prominent voice in the country. He left Nicaragua in June, responded defiantly to the arrest order issued against him.