Nicaraguan political prisoners’ families seek their release after others freed

A demonstrator holds a poster with a message that reads in Spanish; "They all fit in the plane", referring to prisoners of the government of President Daniel Ortega who were released, stripped of their citizenship and flown to the United States, during a march in Managua, Nicaragua, on Feb 11, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

MANAGUA – The relatives of 35 political prisoners in Nicaragua called for their release on Tuesday, days after 222 others in the same category were freed and expeled to the United States following a surprise deal with Washington.

The prisoners, considered political by human rights groups, include 56-year-old anti-government Bishop Rolando Alvarez, one of the Central American country's most influential church leaders.

He refused to board the US-bound plane last week and was returned to jail, stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship and then sentenced to a 26-year term.

"Our relatives were on the official list of political prisoners and were not taken into account for release," the Committee of Relatives of Political Prisoners told a news conference.

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

READ MORE: Nicaragua says released all considered political prisoners

After the prisoner release, President Daniel Ortega said two prisoners refused to board the plane while Washington rejected four others.