Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro, a history professor and president of the teacher’s union at Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua, was arrested in September 2018 and charged with setting a fire, a charge for which there is little evidence. He seems to have been arrested for his participation in a protest march. He has been ordered to be imprisoned until trial. To date he is still confined. Of concern, is Professor Baltodano’s health. CCS has written the President of Nicaragua requesting a review of this case, with assurance for proper medical attention for Professor Baltodano and his immediate release.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra
President of the Republic of Nicaragua
Frente a Palacio Nacional, calle 4 Noroeste
Managua, Nicaragua, 11001
Fax: +505 2228 9090
Dear President Saavedra:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern regarding the detainment of Ricardo Baltodano Marcenaro, a history professor and president of the teacher’s union at Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua, who was arrested on September 15, 2018, and charged with setting a fire – a charge for which there appears to be little legitimate evidence. He seems to have been arrested for his participation in a protest march. He was nonetheless ordered to remain in detention until his trial.
We understand that in late February the trial of political prisoners, like Professor Baltodano, was suspended while a “national dialogue” between your government and the Alianza Civica is carried out. Reportedly, hundreds of such prisoners – not yet convicted of any crime – remain in detention with no set trial date.
This is unjust and unacceptable, and we urge you to release Ricardo Baltodano and other political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.
We are further concerned for the safety and well-being of Professor Baltodano, as it has been reported that his health has deteriorated while in custody. He is 58-years-old and suffers from hypertension, arthritis and a herniated disc.
Your government, which ratified both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1980, has an obligation to protect academic freedom and freedom of expression. We urge you to honor these agreements by assuring these rights and dropping the charges against Professor Baltodano and releasing him from detention without delay.
Thank you again for your attention to this most urgent matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker
Embassy of Nicaragua
1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202 939 6570 I Fax: 202 939 6545
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