UWC-USA alumna Aurora Cecilia Martinez Molina ’19 provides an update on the release of Amaya Coppens, herself an alumna of our sister school in Hong Kong:
In the morning of June 11, 56 political prisoners were released in Nicaragua, among them Amaya Coppens (Li Po Chun ’14), who had been in prison since September 10, 2018, accused of conducting terrorism and arson.
Many other leading protest leaders were released, including Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda, the director and news director of independent digital and cable news channel 100% Noticias; Medardo Mairena, a peasant leader; Irlanda Jerez, dentist and merchant; and Edwin Carcache and Nahoriby Olivas, student leaders.
The liberation occurred after President Daniel Ortega agreed in February to release all political prisoners no later than June 18th. Since then 456 have been released, 350 under house arrest and the rest under a controversial new law that grants amnesty to protesters involved in last year’s uprising against the government.
Some media reports allege that at least 325 people were killed, around 80 are still in prison, and more than 80,000 fled to exile fearing government retaliation.
Even if many are euphoric that the amnesty law has reunited families and loved ones, they are angry at the premise of a law that assumes they are guilty and at the challenges Nicaragua still faces. The future of Nicaragua is uncertain; at least until all political prisoners are released, missing people are found, and early elections are accepted by the Ortega regime.
Amaya had strong words for her government upon her release. “We don’t accept an amnesty law. How is it possible to be told that they forgive us? We haven’t done anything. They are the ones who need forgiveness – and we neither forgive nor forget. We demand justice in Nicaragua!”