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Nicaraguan police detain former beauty queen aiming to contest elections - Metro US

Nicaraguan police detain former beauty queen aiming to contest elections

FILE PHOTO: Presentation of the presidential formula for the opposition party Alianza Ciudadanos por la Libertad in Managua

(Reuters) – Nicaraguan authorities have detained a former beauty queen bidding to contest the November presidential elections, her party said, as the government of President Daniel Ortega shows no sign of ending a crackdown against the opposition.

For months Ortega’s government has been detaining political adversaries, including presidential hopefuls, ahead of an election in which the former Marxist guerrilla and Cold War antagonist of Washington will be running for a fourth consecutive term.

Berenice Quezada, who was Miss Nicaragua in 2017, was detained at her home late on Tuesday night and placed under house arrest, her Citizens Alliance for Liberty (ACXL) party said.

“Quezada … is under house arrest without access to a telephone, with migratory restrictions and prohibited from running for public office,” the Citizens Alliance party tweeted.

“We demand that she be freed and Berenice Quezada’s human rights respected.”

The Nicaraguan attorney general’s office said in a statement on Wednesday Quezada had committed acts that “incite hatred and violence,” and that she should be under house arrest.

Nicaragua’s Confidencial news outlet reported on Tuesday that a complaint of “terrorism crime” had been filed against Quezada to Nicaragua’s electoral council over her critical remarks about a lack of freedoms in the Central American nation.

The Citizens Alliance registered Quezada on Monday to be the running mate of Oscar Sobalvarro, a businessman and former right-wing rebel commander for the Contras, the U.S.-backed guerilla groups who fought Ortega’s Sandinista government in the 1980s.

Washington and the European Union have imposed sanctions against members of Ortega’s family, including his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, as well as key figures within the government, warning that the Nov. 7 elections can not be free with most of Ortega opponents jailed.

The U.S. government’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs said on Twitter that “Ortega-Murillo sunk to new depths of desperation” with Quezada’s house arrest.

Many business figures, journalists and politicians have fled abroad in recent months in anticipation of being arrested.

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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