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Nicaragua penal reform may undermine election outcome

Friday, July 14, 2017


Nicaraguan penal reform.


On June 20, the Nicaraguan legislature approved a new penal code, introducing more stringent penalties for serious offences such as murder, rape and organised crime. While designed ostensibly to maintain the country’s positive security environment, political critics have argued that provisions of the new code could be used to increase pressure on opponents of President Daniel Ortega.


  • Longer sentences could exacerbate prison overcrowding, increasing the risks of breakouts, riots or fires.
  • Concerns surrounding the ‘technical judges’ provision may prompt a referral to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
  • The notion that the extension of already substantial prison sentences will act as a crime deterrent is highly questionable.

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