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The United States has imposed sanctions on Nicaragua’s Attorney General Wendy Carolina Morales Urbina for her role in the government’s persecution of political prisoners and civil society. Morales Urbina has been accused of exploiting her office to suppress dissent by seizing property from government opponents without a legal basis. She led efforts to take property from 222 political prisoners who were sent to the US in 2023 and stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality.

The US Treasury Department stated that Morales Urbina supported the ruthless oppression of peaceful opposition members in Nicaragua by President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo. The sanctions imposed on Morales Urbina will block any property or interests she holds in the US and ban US transactions with her. The US government has pledged to continue to act against anti-democratic actors and human rights abusers, further isolating Nicaragua from much of the West due to increasing human rights violations by the Ortega-Murillo regime.

Ortega’s government has been accused of stripping 300 people of their citizenship for alleged terrorism, including the 222 political prisoners sent to the US after negotiations failed to allow them to return to Nicaragua. Morales Urbina played a key role in formulating policies that labeled Nicaraguan opposition members as terrorists and blocked their financial resources with anti-terrorism laws. The State Department had previously placed Morales Urbina on a corruption blacklist, preventing her from entering the US.

Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist rebel, has faced opposition from the US government since leading a revolution that overthrew a US-backed government more than four decades ago. Ortega’s return to power in 2007 led to increased control over state institutions and crackdowns on dissidents, resulting in human rights violations and heavy US sanctions against him and other officials. Ortega has faced criticism for his response to protests in 2018, where more than 300 people were killed as they demonstrated against austerity measures and social security cuts.

Amnesty International has condemned the Ortega government for consolidating power through the excessive use of force, unjust criminalization of activists and dissidents, attacks on civil society, and forced exile. The international community, including the US, has taken action against Ortega and his administration for their violations of human rights and suppression of dissent in Nicaragua. The sanctions imposed on Morales Urbina are part of ongoing efforts to hold the Ortega-Murillo regime accountable for their actions against the Nicaraguan people.

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