Lawyer: 17 wounded in prison where U.S.-Nicaraguan man killed

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Seventeen people who were arrested in previous anti-government protests were wounded in a prison disturbance in which a 57-year-old Nicaraguan-American dual national was shot dead, a lawyer for several inmates said.

Attorney Yonarqui Mart’nez also said three student protest leaders were among those hurt, and alleged that Eddy Montes Praslin was shot in the back and “murdered.”

“There is proof of this, no legitimate defense exists,” Mart’nez said.

Nicaraguan authorities have accused the inmates of causing “a serious disturbance” Thursday at La Modelo prison north of the capital, Managua. President Daniel Ortega’s government reported Montes’ death and said six prison workers had been injured, but did not say anything about inmates being hurt.

Worried family members gathered outside La Modelo in the morning seeking information about their loved ones and vowing to remain until they got answers.

“We demand to see our relatives, see what state they are truly in,” said Jacqueline Valdivia, mother of student leader Nahiroby Olivas, one of those listed as wounded. “They tell us everything is calm, but we cannot believe that when there was a death.”

Yessenia Corea, the mother of Byron Estrada, another student leader, also wondered about her son.

“We are very worried because they say four of the prisoners are in the hospital, including my son,” she said.

Corporaci¯n radio, a station critical of Ortega’s government, said four people were in serious condition from gunshot wounds and attributed the injuries to armed police and guards.

Corporaci¯n published photos apparently taken in the prison yard showing bandaged men with bruises, welts, black eyes and cuts on the head, face, arms and back, as well as spent shell casings and used tear gas canisters.

Mart’nez said the disturbance took place in a section of La Modelo that holds hundreds of people whom the opposition and human rights groups say are political prisoners who were arrested for opposing the government. Ortega officials allege that opposition protests were tantamount to an attempted coup and have called the demonstrators “terrorists.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which had personnel inside the lockup at the time, has offered few details about what happened but said prison officials had asked it to mediate a problematic situation in several cellblocks. The ICRC said it had facilitated the exit of wounded prisoners who were treated by prison medical staff.

The government said prisoners rushed guards inside the facility and struggled with one of them “with clear intentions of taking away his service weapon.” Montes was shot in the melee.

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