MANAGUA, Nicaragua — A 57-year-old man arrested for taking part in protests against Nicaragua’s government was killed by a bullet Thursday in a prison north of the capital amid disturbances that left six prison officials injured.
Nicaragua’s interior ministry said the incident in Modelo prison began in the early afternoon when a group of prisoners caused “a serious disturbance to the public order.” Eddy Antonio Montes Praslin died after being rushed to a hospital, according to the ministry statement.
Montes Praslin had dual Nicaraguan-U.S. nationality, according to Julio Montenegro, a lawyer for the Permanent Commission of Human Rights. The Associated Press was unable to reach the U.S. Embassy for confirmation.
Authorities said Montes Praslin and other inmates jumped prison staff and tried to take a weapon away from a guard. But relatives of the prisoners said several patrols of riot troops entered the prison and gunshots were heard. Soon after ambulances arrived, they said.
The ministry said the incident took place during a visit from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Alberto Cabezas of the humanitarian agency’s regional official confirmed that Red Cross personnel were inside the prison but he declined to comment further.
Mothers of inmates gathered at the door to the prison demanding to know what happened and if their children are safe.
Yonarqui Martínez, a lawyer for several detained protesters, told local television the disturbance took place in a section of the prison that holds hundreds of inmates the opposition calls political prisoners.
“We demand they respect the integrity of the inmates and tell us in what condition they are,” said Martínez. Media reports of more wounded prisoners were not confirmed by authorities.
Montes Praslin was arrested last November, accused of terrorism, aggravated robbery, illegal possession of weapons and disruption of public order.
A Nicaragua opposition group Civic Alliance said on Twitter: “Repression by the government has caused the death of Eddy Montes Praslin this afternoon in attacks on political prisoners within the system.”
Protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega began in April 2018. Ortega accused his opponents of attempting a coup, and security forces and armed civilian militias launched a crackdown in which at least 325 people were killed, more than 2,000 wounded and over 52,000 fled to exile, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Gabriela Selser, The Associated Press