International rights experts begin probing Nicaraguan violence

MANAGUA, July 4: Investigators from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights began a probe into months of violence in Nicaragua which has killed at least 220 people.
“Our commitment is to the victims…Regardless of who the perpetrators are,” said Italian human rights expert Amerigo Incalcaterra.
A statement from the commission yesterday said it had a mandate of six months and has been tasked with “supporting the investigations of the violent acts that have taken place in the country since April 18, in the framework of the social protests.” “The group shall have guarantees of autonomy and independence, as well as access to investigation and security files in order to carry out its work,” it said.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) has reported at least 220 people dead, saying it was investigating whether around a dozen more deaths were linked to the violence.
Riot police and armed paramilitaries surrounded an area in the town of La Trinidad, north of Managua, on Tuesday, witnesses and local media said. Merling Solis, a local representative of CENIDH, told local channel 100% News that “armed groups are encircling the area so that the population has no way out.”     Another rights group, the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights, yesterday put its latest toll in two-and-a-half-months of violence at 309, with more than 1,500 injured.
The protests began in April as demonstrations against now-scrapped social security reforms, but a heavy-handed police reaction transformed them into demands for justice for those killed, and for the exit of Ortega and his wife Vice President Rosario Murillo. (AGENCIES)