WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on the Nicaraguan National Police over accusations of human rights abuse, in the Trump administration’s latest move to pressure the leftist government of President Daniel Ortega.

The Treasury Department said in a statement it blacklisted Nicaragua’s police over its role in significant acts of violence, including “using live ammunition against peaceful protesters and participating in death squads, as well as carrying out extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and kidnappings.”

Three commissioners of the Nicaraguan National Police were also blacklisted: Juan Valle Valle, Luis Alberto Perez Olivas and Juan Pastor Urbina.

“The Ortega regime has utilized the Nicaraguan National Police as a tool in its campaign of violent repression against the Nicaraguan people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets held by Nicaragua’s National Police and the three targeted commissioners and prohibit Americans from doing business with them.

The Treasury Department has previously imposed sanctions on officials of Nicaragua’s National Police for human rights abuses.

Demonstrations began in Nicaragua in 2018 over planned cuts to welfare benefits that later spread into broader protests against what critics see as Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian-style rule. The protests left more than 300 people dead, according to rights groups.

The Nicaraguan government has called previous U.S. sanctions on officials, including Ortega’s wife, Rosario Murillo, who is also the country’s vice president, a continuation of “imperial” designs on the small Central American country.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

UK records highest daily COVID-19 death toll

LONDON – Britain reported a further 1,162 coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period, the highest since April 21, official figures showed Thursday. This brought the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 78,508, the data showed. Meanwhile, Britain…

Japan police arrest man in Kyoto anime arson that killed 36

Japanese police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of burning down a Kyoto anime studio last year  after he recovered enough from his own severe burns to respond to the police investigation. Kyoto police said they arrested Shinji Aoba, 42,…

Possible coronavirus case on cruise ship with 6,000 passengers docked in Italy

ROME — More than 100 Americans are on board a cruise ship that has one passenger on board showing symptoms of the coronavirus, officials said Thursday. “The guest, a 54 years old lady of Chinese nationality, is currently put on…

How one note from Lady Gaga told the story of Joe Biden’s inauguration

Music sometimes tells a story more succinctly than a speech and, on Wednesday, Lady Gaga managed to capture the story of Joe Biden’s inauguration, and the sweep of American history, in just one note. It lasted four soul-stirring seconds, deep into a performance…