26.          On June 11, the CNPPDH submitted to the Commission a Preliminary Report on the investigations carried out by that agency on the events that took place in Leimus in December 1981. That report includes the testimony of Deacon Rodolfo Baquedano Ebeel, originally from Leimus and currently living in the settlement Sahsa. In that testimony, which coincides with that given by Asel Mercado, he states:


                   That on December 18, 1981, approximately 40 Miskitos coming from Puerto Cabezas and La Tronquera on their way to Asang and San Carlos were captured in Leimus. That all of the detainees who came in a truck were imprisoned in a cellar blocked off with squares of cement. That same day, the witness could see EFRAÍN POVEDA MULLER, of Waspuk, among those who had been captured. He could also see VIDAL POVEDA and SINFORIANO ALARCÓN. That on December 23, at 9:15 p.m., a single round of shots was heard that lasted about 15 seconds. That on December 26, 1981, he spoke with the Sandinista in charge of the Leimus command, named Gustavo Martínez, who informed him that during the night of December 23, 14 of the detainees had escaped. That Gustavo told them that they had shot at them without later finding any trails of blood. That on the 26th of December he spoke with Gustavo Martínez, he saw no sign of corpses anywhere. That Gustavo’s assistants were “Pepe” and “Chayito Ingrand”. That on December 26, 1981 there was no gunfire in Leimus. That Gustavo Martínez himself told him that Asel Mercado had been sent to Puerto Cabezas.


          27.          In accordance with the information and testimony set forth above, which has been carefully examined and weighed, the Commission is convinced that between 35 and 40 Miskitos were detained in Leimus by military forces commanded by an officer who was referred to by some individual witnesses as Gustavo or Gustavo Martínez, and that a yet undetermined number of Miskitos, all unarmed, were summarily executed on December 23, 1981, possibly in retaliation for the events that had taken place a few days before in San Carlos, during which 6 members of the Sandinista army were killed.


          It is the view of the Commission that such events constitute a serious violation of the right to life, set forth in Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and require from the Government of Nicaragua at least a thorough investigation of the facts and a severe punishment for those responsible for these illegal killings.


          28.          The Government of Nicaragua formally undertook to begin an investigation of these events. Thus, in the Proposal Document of the Government of Nicaragua to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of 24 August, 1982, after studying the recommendations of the IACHR contained in its Report of June 26, 1982, it is stated that:


                   With respect to the recommendation to “investigate all matters relating to the violation of the right to life of the Miskito Indians and to judge and punish those responsible to the full extent of the law,” the Government of Nicaragua, independently of its belief that there have been no violations of the right to life, has transferred that recommendation to the National Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights so that this autonomous agency may proceed to carry out an investigation aimed at clarifying the alleged events, in conformity with Article 5 of its Statute.14


          Likewise, in its Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Nicaraguan Government affirmed having carried out a “thorough investigation” of the events that took place in Leimus, which is linked to the “outrageous attacks” that had taken place a few days before.15


          29.          Despite these offers to undertake a thorough investigation of the events that took place in Leimus, the IACHR has thus far only received the document from the Nicaraguan Government titled “Preliminary Report of the CNPPDH on its mandate, contained in the ‘Proposal document for a Friendly Settlement’”; the version of the events submitted by the Public and International Relations Section of the Ministry of Defense transcribed above, and a certificate from the Judge Advocate of the Sandinista Armed Forces which states that the Military Tribunal of the First Instance of the Office of the Judge Advocate of the Sandinista Armed Forces, on April 2, 1983, decided to fully and finally exonerate Gustavo Manuel Martínez Rivera and Juan Antonio Sosa González, “of the alleged crime of murder”.


          30.          In the document of the CNPPDH, after pointing out that “the current state of emergency and the state of aggression experienced by the country has made it impossible to carry out as careful an investigation as the CNPPDH would have liked…” and that “nevertheless, the Commission (the CNPPDH) intends to continue its investigations until fully clarifying these events…”, the following conclusions are set forth:


                   With respect to the events that took place in Leimus, Asang and San Carlos, late in December, 1981, the Commission believes it is appropriate to take into account, for general understanding, the events known as “Red Christmas” that were referred to in paragraph 27 of this Preliminary Report and the disinformation campaign launched from Radio 15 September that operates from Honduras. The lack of precise and concrete data, together with the serious contradictions encountered in the texts of the complaints, casts substantial doubt on the truth of the allegations. The Commission is certain that some of the alleged victims are still living, as has been clearly demonstrated, and that a sufficient investigation of Mocorón (Honduras) might even provide revealing new information. The versions of the confrontations mentioned in paragraph 31 merit a more detailed investigation.


                   The preliminary conclusion of the Commission is that there is implausible information with respect to the massacre of Leimus, some of which has been fully clarified. The physical presence of the alleged victims Norman Castro, Asel Mercado, Juan Poveda and Simonet Ingram are persuasive proof that must be evaluated objectively. The Commission does not dismiss the possibility that some of the alleged victims may have died in fighting with the Sandinista forces.


          31.          The IACHR can only consider unsatisfactory, and in some respects even surprising, the reply that the Government of Nicaragua through the CNPPDH has given. Indeed, the entire document is intended to contest the complaints set forth in the Report of the IACHR of June 26, 1982, rather than to determine the truth of what took place, as the Government offered to do. This explains why this document contains no information as to whether the military officers who may have been involved in the events were questioned. Nor were survivors, such as Asel Mercado, questioned, who stated to the Nicaraguan officials and the staff of the IACHR Secretariat that until that day he had not been questioned with respect to these events.


          The Commission, of course, well understands the difficulties of undertaking a thorough investigation given the prevailing military situation on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. Nevertheless, it should be noted that these events took place nearly two years ago, and the only result of investigations thus far has been the discovery that five people whom the complainants thought were dead are fortunately still alive.


          32.          Finally, the IACHR wishes to refer to the statement of the CNPPDH that it “does not dismiss the possibility that some of the alleged victims may have died in fighting with the Sandinista forces”. This statement is simply surprising. According to all the information and testimony received by the IACHR, some from the Government itself, the victims were unarmed, were detained by Sandinista military forces, and were in their custody, while the Commission has no information that would lead it to believe that there was fighting in Leimus.


D.       Right to liberty, personal security and to due process


          1.          In view of the fact that observance of the rights to libert,16 personal security,17 and due process,18 are closely related in this case, the Commission will concern itself with these three rights, as they are set forth in the American Convention, in this section. This section will study the following situations concerning the Miskito population: a. detentions and other restrictions of liberty; b. imprisonment; c. trials initiated; d. releases that were granted; and e. alleged disappearances.


          a.          Detentions and other restrictions of personal liberty


          2.          A number of Miskitos were detained in connection with the events of San Carlos in December 1981, some of whom were subsequently released.


          3.          In the first half of 1982, as militarization of the Atlantic zone increased as a result of the incursions of armed insurgent groups and combat in several places in the northern part of Zelaya Department, the number of detentions rose and the Government began to adopt various measures to restrict personal liberty, invoking a state of emergency, and thus created an atmosphere of uncertainty for the inhabitants of the Miskito villages.


          4.          According to a complaint received by the IACHR, the detentions took place as follows:


                   Since establishment of the State of National Emergency, the number of detentions in the Atlantic Coast Region has increased considerably. These detentions are made on the basis of allegations or vague accusations that the detainee is involved in counterrevolutionary activities. Detention involves violations of the person, and destruction of his home. The detainee is usually kept incommunicado from two to three months, while interrogated in prisons of the State Security forces, while the family remains uninformed of his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention. The State of Emergency has nullified the habeas corpus remedy, the only legal mechanism to prevent incommunicado imprisonment, to require a hearing before a Judge, and above all to demonstrate the physical and emotional condition of the defendant. Abuse of prisoners is frequent in rural zones, and there are many complaints of rape, beatings, harassment and other illegal proceedings in the prison.


          3.          According to information received by the Commission, in March 1982, 17 communities on the banks of the Prinzapolka River were militarily occupied, including their temples and schools; in the following months, the communities of Prata, Kushbul, Kligna, Riatí, Arandakna, Wailahka and Musawas were destroyed or burned, leading their inhabitants to flee to the mountains or to Honduras. In July 1982, a state of siege was declared in the communities of Tuara, Sisin, Juaquil, Boomsirpi and Yolotigni, under which the inhabitants were not allowed to leave their homes. In the following months, August, September and October, 1982, the situation is described as follows by a complaint received by the IACHR with respect to 10 Indian communities near Puerto Cabezas:


a.    Total proscription of fishing;

b.     Expropriation of communal lands;

c.     Prohibition of leaving the community;

d.     Restriction on masses or religious services, which can be held only with prior permission;

e.      State of siege within the communities.


6.          These restrictions on the personal liberty of the Miskitos culminated with the enactment of Decree 1132 on November 4, 1982, by which the Government declared the territory of 24 cities in the Departments of Chinandega, Madriz, Nueva Segovia, Jinotega and Zelaya, near the border zone with Honduras, to be a military emergency zone. According to this Decree, which is in force at the time of approval of this report, military authorities, by delegation of the Directorate of National Reconstruction and as necessary to deal with the emergency, may issue whatever orders, regulations and provisions are necessary to maintain order and security and to guarantee national defense.


          7.          Military authorities have used this authority to detain hundreds of Miskitos without following legal formalities and without allowing any judicial remedy, even the remedy of habeas corpus. Several Moravian pastors who hold great moral authority over their villages are among those who have been detained.19


          b.          Imprisonment of Miskitos


          8.          Despite all of the efforts made by the Commission before the Government of Nicaragua to discover the exact number of Miskitos currently detained, awaiting trial or sentence, the Commission is not able to provide an exact number of Miskitos now in prison.20


          9.          In this respect, it is advisable to bear in mind that under the state of emergency now in force in Nicaragua, a person may be imprisoned either under the regular prison system or by State Security forces. In the latter case, detainees may remain in that situation for an indefinite period of time while under investigation.


          10.          The Commission considers, in accordance with the various information sources available to it, that in July 1983, there were approximately 400 Miskito detainees in Managua alone. Of these, approximately 300 were in the Managua prison “Heroes and Martyrs of New Guinea” formerly called the prison of “Zona Franca”, and 100 were in the Minimal Security Work Farm.21


          11.          Prison conditions, as observed by the Commission in 198022 and in 1982 have not improved significantly in the Zona Franca Prison, as noted by the staff members of the Secretariat who visited the prison in June, 1983. At that time, the staff members interviewed two Moravian pastors who, while stating that they had not been physically abused during their detention in Managua, stated that they had been cruelly tortured during initial interrogations, and complained of the severe conditions of their imprisonment.


          12.          On the other hand, the prison conditions in the Minimal Security Work Farm are considerably better. In June, approximately 100 Miskitos were held there, including 12 women. At this time, that figure comes to some 300 Miskitos, according to the statement of the National Commissioner for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, as the have all been transferred to that detention center. The women worked in handicrafts and maintenance of the establishment. The men were assigned agricultural tasks, which apparently were carried out satisfactorily. Prison conditions in general are good and almost the only complaint of the prisoners is the lack of communication with their families.


          c.          Trials of the Miskitos


          13.          The Commission will consider below the trials of the Miskitos detained at the end of 1981 and the first months of 1982. Most of them were arrested in San Carlos and in Las Minas, but there are also others who were arrested in Sandy Bay, Waspan, Bilwaskarma and Zelaya.


          14.          During the visit made by the Special Commission to Nicaragua in May, 1982, it had the opportunity to speak with the Miskitos who had been detained, of whom approximately 125 were held in Managua and 47 in Puerto Cabezas, as indicated above.


          15.          In its conversation with the detainees, the Special Commission received various testimonies on torture and other violations of personal security alleged to have occurred during interrogation sessions by the State Security Force, in order to extract from them signed confessions to be used at their trials.


          The Miskitos who were interviewed gave details of the methods used to force them to sign the confessions; a considerable number of them declared that they had been punished, tortured and threatened with death. They were warned that they would have their tongues cut out if they told anyone of these abuses. Some of them showed the Commission members who interviewed them the bruises and marks that they claimed resulted from this physical mistreatment.


          16.          For the applicable law to be used at these trials the Government turned to the articles still in force of the Law on Maintenance of Order and Public Security, the Procedural Law on the Maintenance of Order and Public Security and the Law on the State of Economic and Social Emergency. By application of these provisions, the Miskitos have been accused of the crimes of not obeying a ceasefire; attempting to reinstate the Somoza regime; and conspiracy to submit the nation to foreign domination. These allegations, as will be seen, have not been supported by sufficient evidence.


          17.          The Commission is particularly concerned that the applicable procedural law allowed the following irregularities:


a.      That the statements of the accused were made to officers of the Department of State Security, without having been taken by a competent judicial authority.


b.       That the judge did not even question the accused afterwards and accepted as true the facts contained in the document presented by State Security.


c.      That the judge was not obliged to ask the accused if he agreed with what he stated in his declaration, since the defendant was asked only by the officer of State Security whether his statement corresponded to what he had declared.


d.       That during questioning, the Miskitos did not have the services of an interpreter, although a large number of them do not speak Spanish, but only their native languages.


e.       That the accused were not given prior and detailed information on the charges brought against them before making their statements, nor did they have adequate means to prepare their defense, since they were not permitted the assistance of a defense attorney at the time they made their declarations.


f.       That the right not to testify against oneself and to plead not guilty was not observed.


18.          As an example, and in order to specify concretely the violation of the above-mentioned judicial guarantees, the Commission has selected the legal proceedings followed against the Miskitos who had allegedly participated in the events that took place in the village of San Carlos, and which like the other proceedings followed against other Miskitos, was carried out under Judge Pompilio Casaya M., District Judge of Puerto Cabezas, who was subsequently removed by the Supreme Court of Justice of Nicaragua.


          The disciplinary action of the Supreme Court, which unfortunately did not completely nullify the judge’s actions, states that the dismissal of Judge Pompilio Casaya Mendoza was due to his having committed a number of irregularities.


          19.          The case record opened with an accusation by the Assistant District Attorney of the Department of Justice of Zelaya, submitted on January 29, 1982. Its tone is sharply critical of the Indian communities of the Atlantic Coast, which is described as a “zone that was previously used only as a hunting and fishing preserve of the various imperialists and their puppets”; referred to the defendants as “traitors of the Revolution”, “neo-Somocistas” and “bootlickers of Somocismo who tried to use the power that the Revolution gave them”.


          The Assistant District Attorney submitted as proof of the charges the confessions of the defendants, all of which were taken in the presence of officers of the Department State Security, in Puerto Cabezas. The above-mentioned statements are dated in the first and second weeks of January, and special care was taken in all of them to include the affirmation, which the accused Miskitos interviewed by the Special Commission stated to be false, that they had been informed of their rights under law to make a statement or to remain silent, and that they chose, in all of the cases, to “spontaneously” confess their crimes.


          In response to the Assistant District Attorney’s request, on January 29 the Court of Puerto Cabezas issued an arrest order for the accused, as if they were still at liberty, when in fact most had been apprehended in December and were in incommunicado detention. At the same time, by means of an official communication of the same date, he asked the Operation Section of the Director General’s Office of State Security to send him the persons whose names he listed in his two page note who, he indicated, “are detained for having participated in the events of San Carlos”.


          Also on the 29th, the date of the complaint and the official letter in which the Judge requested that the detainees be sent to him, State Security responded by sending an placing the detainees at the disposition of the Judge. On the same date, the Court notified the detainees of the contents of the charges brought by the Assistant District Attorney, and gave them two days to reply to these charges.


          Given the length of the above-mentioned documents, which take up the first ten pages of the record, and the fact that they all bear the same data, the impression of the IACHR is that it had all been prepared in advance to comply with established legal formalities. But what has most drawn the attention of the Commission is that the judge warned the defendants to respond to the charges within two days of notification, when he knew that their replies were part of the proof of the Assistant District Attorney’s charges.


          The appointment of a defense counsel in these circumstances also appears to be a mere formality, since the statements and replies of the defendants had been obtained by State Security. This impression was later confirmed by the useless and even counterproductive role played by the defense counsel, who, when the time came to present his case, tacitly acknowledged the charges brought against his clients, with the two exceptions, of whom he said: “Their crime cannot be proved, since they did not have any direct or even indirect participation in the events of San Carlos”.


          With respect to the lack of autonomy and impartiality alleged by the accused on the part of Judge Pompilio Casaya Mendoza, it is enlightening to quote verbatim the introduction of some of his official communications, particularly that on page 16 of the record, which he addressed, on February 1, 1982, to “Comrade in charge of the Operations Section of the Office of the General Director of the State Security” in the following terms:


                   Today when the Sun of Liberty of our Commander-in-chief CARLOS FONSECA AMADOR shines in all its splendor, I address you for the following purpose.


          The confessions have been written in a style which is easily seen by those who interviewed them not to be the language of the Miskitos. There is no indication that any of the accused have been assisted by an interpreter, and as the confessions are all in Spanish, the Commission wishes to know how the interrogators managed to communicate with the accused, 70% of whom only speak the Miskito language.


          The Commission also notes with concern that the record includes the signatures of Miskitos who are completely or almost completely illiterate. Despite this circumstance, all of the testimonies without exception contained a statement, certified by the presiding officer, that once the confession had been given, it was read by the defendant, who in acknowledgment of his agreement with its content, attached his signature to render it legitimate.


          20.          All of the procedural abnormalities noted in the record of the case on the events of San Carlos, which would nullify that procedure, are not unlike the abnormalities contained in the proceedings followed against the other detained Miskitos. To this should be added the fact that the lower court’s guilty verdict was rendered without examining and considering the extent of individual participation on the part of each defendant, but rather grouped them together and gave them different sentences.


          21.          Another fact which concerns the Commission relates to the performance of the defense attorneys. In a meeting with them in Bluefields, the Special Commission learned that they had not spoken with their clients, and therefore had not had an opportunity to hear their versions of the events. Clearly, this is extremely damaging to the proper discharge of their duties and makes it difficult to clarify whether each of the accused in fact committed the alleged crimes. According to information received by the Commission, the defense attorneys in general are unable to prepare an effective defense due to the limited period for the submission of evidence (8 days) and the distances to be covered to gather data to support the defendant’s case, which means that they cannot present witnesses or expert evidence, nor produce evidence by examination of exhibits by the judge. On the other hand, the State Prosecutor has all the time he may need to gather such evidence.


          22.          A further abnormality noted by the Special Commission was the television broadcasting of the incriminating confessions by the defendants themselves before the final verdict was rendered. The broadcasting of these statements, in the opinion of the Commission, leads public opinion to prejudge the guilt of the defendants, and is a practice totally at variance with the fundamental dictates of due process. Fortunately, this anomaly is presumably being corrected, according to information provided to the Commission by the Government in its reply concerning implementation of the preliminary recommendations set forth by the Special Commission during its visit to Nicaragua in May 1982.


          23.          Another serious anomaly, in the opinion of the Commission, is that the Court record does not state precise charges. It is not clear that the defendants participated actively in the acts of sabotage or acts of pillage, looting or vandalism that were attributed to armed groups of former Sandinista guards.


          24.          With respect to what was called by the Assistant District Attorney “arms and military ordnance” in the possession of the accused in the San Carlos case, the statement is obviously exaggerated since the description of the arms contained in the record of the Court Proceeding, maintained at the request of the claimant, indicates that the alleged weapons of war were but old rifles, perhaps useful for hunting or personal defense, the possession of which is easily explained given the region where their owners lived.23


          25.          On August 24, 1982, the Government of Nicaragua, through its Permanent Mission to the OAS, informed the Commission of the Bluefields Court of Appeals decisions of July 1, 1982, in the appeals of the guilty verdicts handed down by the Judge of Puerto Cabezas. According to this information, 26 cases were provisionally dismissed, and three were definitively dismissed; sentences were considerably reduced in the remaining cases, some of them by more than 70 percent. According to this information, the longest sentence was reduced from 30 to 14 years imprisonment with an additional two years of forced labor. It was also reported that “the corresponding special remedy of annulment in criminal proceedings has already been applied, and is currently being processed. It is to be hoped that, as a result thereof, sentences will be reduced in some cases and others will be dismissed”.


          26.          On September 16, 1983, the Supreme Court, by means of a remedy of annulment in criminal proceedings, nullified some of the sentences handed down by the Bluefields Court of Appeals, dismissing the cases of 35 Miskitos from San Carlos, 8 from Sandy Bay, 12 from Waspan and 8 from Zelaya. Nevertheless, it denied the remedies sought on behalf of 35 Miskitos from Las Minas and 7 from Bilwaskarma, who had been sentenced previously, because the statute of limitation had expired. According to the note of September 16, 1983, from the Foreign Ministry of Nicaragua to the Chairman of the IACHR, “the persons whose remedy of annulment was denied for being presented when the deadline had expired, still have the right to bring a special remedy of review, and the lawyers who submitted the remedy beyond the time limit are being submitted to an inquiry initiated by the Supreme Court of Justice.”


          27.          Although the decision of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua was tardy and partial, it remedied a situation of manifest injustice in which the applicable norms of due process which are guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights and to which Nicaragua is a party, had been disregarded.


          d.          Release of the Miskitos


          28.          On January 3, 1983, the Commission was informed by the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the OAS, of the names of 49 Miskitos who had been released, on two occasions, in the course of December 1982.


          Later, on August 3, 1983, the Commission was again informed that 45 Miskitos who had been detained had also been released.


          In addition, the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the OAS ADVISED THE commission by note of September 26, 1983, that a pardon had been granted to 18 Miskitos.


          29.          Together with these releases, the Commission has taken note of the efforts being made by the National Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nicaragua to obtain a pardon for a considerable number of Miskitos, and thus establish better conditions for an understanding between the Government and the Miskito communities.


          30.          The Commission has also taken due note that on September 2, 1983, the Ministry of Justice, at the instructions of the Government Directorate, prepared a Draft General Amnesty Decree for all Nicaraguans of Miskito, Sumo, Criollo or Rama origin, which would cover those detained in Nicaragua and even those outside of Nicaragua, without exception. The amnesty, as reported by the Government, would cover all crimes committed from December of 1981 to date. Nevertheless, the events of the 7, 8, and 9 of September, which included the bombardment of the Augusto César Sandino Airport of Managua and other attacks, led the Government to make a decision to issue the decree “whenever the wave of aggression ceases and when the more concrete results of the noble and repeated efforts of the Contadora Group can be seen.”


          31.          Despite these efforts, which the Commission acknowledges and esteems, it finds that there is still a considerable number of people detained without charge, or sentenced in violation of the minimal norms of due process. In light of these considerations, the Commission has persistently pressed the Government of Nicaragua to grant a general pardon or amnesty to all Miskitos; on the one hand, this would correct past injustices, and on the other, would contribute to establishing conditions for better relations with the Miskitos.


          32.          The Commission also regrets, as it indicated above, that it cannot give a precise figure of the number of Miskitos who have been detained and where they are now; it can only insist, once again, that the Government of Nicaragua publish the complete list of all detention centers, both those of the prison system and those under State Security, and that it issue lists of the names of detained Miskitos.24


          e.          Disappearance of Miskitos


          33.          The failure to make public information about the detentions carried out by civilians and military authorities has resulted in complaints concerning the disappearances of a considerable number of Miskitos. Given the IACHR’s past experience in other countries with this abominable practice, these claims of disappearance have been a principal source of concern to the Commission.


          34.          According to a complaint submitted by the Permanent Commission on Human Rights of Nicaragua, disappearances have occurred under the following circumstances:


                   Beginning in July 1982, hundreds of Indian Miskitos were captured in the communities of Zelaya Norte, and were taken to Puerto Cabezas where they were kept incommunicado. Their families were later informed by the local authorities that they had been taken to Managua, to the jail known as Zona Franca, but after making great efforts to reach that city, to visit their imprisoned relatives, they were informed by the offices of the National Prison System that those defendants had not been moved to Managua.


                   Seventy-two cases of DISAPPEARANCES in these circumstances have been reported to our offices and the Permanent Commission of Nicaragua has made repeated efforts on behalf of our Nicaraguan brothers before the authorities of the Ministry of the Interior, responsible for these captures, both in Managua and in the First Special Region, which is located in Puerto Cabezas, although thus far no authority has taken responsibility for the fate of these prisoners, nearly ONE YEAR AFTER THEIR CAPTURE.


                   Although some relatives of these prisoners have indicated that they have been informed by other prisoners that their relatives “WERE TAKEN” from the cells, on the night of July 19, 1983, to an unknown destination, the hope that they will be found alive is still harbored, particularly in the light of the “APPEARANCE” or DISCOVERY of Mr. MANUEL THOMPSON CLARK, who had been detained on July 19, 1982 and was allowed to be visited by his family until May, 1983, after which time he remained incommunicado in the State Security prisons at Puerto Cabezas.


          35.          The list of names of the disappeared provided by the Permanent Commission on Human Rights of Nicaragua includes the following persons:


                   Larry Wellington August, Emilio Wellington August, Alberto Wellington August, Neman Wellington August, Tomas Borge Kittle, Carlos Rammer Berry Sula, Askin Reginald Francis, Bernardo Chow, Tomas Pineer Ritchinal, Luis Chow Jacobe, Vernon Werster Silvano, Ambrosio Thompson Bigman, Augustin Zamora, Justiniano Natalian, Candido Urbina, Unecio Usyan Amadias, Harold Davis, Guierdin Maikel Castillo, Martin Fracia Warman, Milton Hodson Wilson, Roberto Alfred Joseph, Maikel Amdias Williams, Nicolas Zamora, Alfonso Flores Frank, Alfonso Wilson Teofilo, Adistan Norman Lam Amadias, Guadalupe Romero, Jose Saiman Tacio, Carlos Amadias Williams, Alberto Zamora Warman, Ricardo Zamora Warman, Bernardo Martinez David, Mostemos Bertan Daysi, Leytran Teofilo Humberto, Cipriano Omier Prado, Rene Arthurs McDonalds, Julio William Godoy, Wilfredo Rodríguez Garth, Hernaldo Vargas Albina Vargas, Harry Williams, Ignacio Martínez Teofilo, Ricardo Estriano Chico, Paul Taylor Jr., Harold Warman, Napoleón Joel, Medando Zeledon Lackwood, Rodriguez Garth, Gregorio Joel Alfius, Gabriel Anderson, William Lopez, Plutario Ronas, Pinley Amstrong, Justo Herbacio Lampson, Feliciano Arthurs Lopez, Lorenzo Parquier, Salitan Pasquier, Agapito Almanza, José Salvador, Nicolás Hernández, Celestino Amstrong, Daniel Lopez, Rosa McWilliams, Concepción Rosales, Pedro Gonzalez, Andres Soza, Electerio Picktan, Jose Mitchelie, Harold Jerry, Eniterio Dixon, Anibal McLean and Antonio Manzanares Lackwood.


          36.          At the end of the visit to Nicaragua of the Executive Secretary and Dr. Cerna, the National Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights—which the Government had entrusted with carrying out the pertinent investigations with respect to the claims of disappearances—provided the following information with respect to 28 names that appeared on the list of the Permanent Commission:


          Luis Chow Jacobe (according to information of the Ministry of the Interior, released on July 29, 1982, and is not now in Zona Franca); Hernaldo Vargas (according to information of the Ministry of the Interior, released on August 1, 1982); Adistan Norman Lam Amadias (according to information of the Ministry of the Interior, released on August 1, 1982); Tomas Borge Kittle (according to information of the Ministry of the Interior, was released on July 31, 1982); Pinley Amstrong (not in Jail); Ricardo Zamora Warman (not in jail); Larry Wellington August (not in jail); Neman Wellington August (not in jail); Alberto Wellington August (not in jail); Emilio Wellington August (not in jail); Martin Francis Warman (not in jail); Bernardo Chow (not in jail); Justiniano Natalian (not in jail); Tomas Pineer Richinal (not in jail); Alfonso Wilson Teofilo (on the list of defendants in Zona Franca appears as Teofilo Wilson Balberino, detained October 12, 1982, crime: counterrevolutionary. Penalty: under indictment and orders not to leave the jurisdiction); Guadalupe Romero (on the list of prisoners of Zona Franca appears as Guadalupe Romero Guzman, detained on October 12, 1982. Crime: counter-revolutionary; penalty: under indictment, and orders not to leave the jurisdiction of the Judge of Puerto Cabezas; Nicolás Hernandez (on the list of prisoners of Zona Franca appears as Hernandez Salvador Nicolas, detained July 20, 1982; crime: counterrevolutionary; penalty: under indictment, not to leave the jurisdiction of the Judge of Puerto Cabezas); Celestino Amstrong (on the list of prisoners in Zona Franca, appears as Anstran Jacobi Celestino, detained July 19, 1982; crime: counterrevolutionary; penalty: under indictment and orders not to leave the jurisdiction of Puerto Cabezas); Cipriano Omier Prado (according to a note sent to the IACHR on January 5, 1983, was released on December 2, 1982, appearing under the name Napoleón Joel Francis); Justo Herbacio Lampson (according to a note sent to the IACHR of January 5, 1983, was released on December 15, 1982); Albina Vargas (according to a note sent to the IACHR of June 5, 1983, was released on December 2, 1982); Domingo Filemon Talavera Pérez, (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the IACHR on March 13, 1983, that he is not on the prison list); Manuel Thompson Clark (detained in Special Region I, at the orders of the Ministry of the Interior, on October 25, 1982); Clover Lezcano Perez, Abundio Perez Lopez and Jacinto Lopez Mendez (between April 15 and 20, 1982, died in combat with Sandinista troops, note of the Ministry of the Interior of April 20, 1982); and Nicolas Zamora (appears on the prisoner list of Zona Franca as Tomas Zamora Nicolas, detained March 1, 1982; crime: counterrevolutionary; penalty: under indictment and orders not to leave the jurisdiction of Puerto Cabezas).


          37.          The staff members of the Secretariat of the Commission, during their visit to Puerto Cabezas, attempted to inquire about the fate of Mr. Manuel Thompson Clark, who according to the Permanent Commission on Human Rights “had been detained since July 19, 1982, and had been visited by his relatives until May, 1983, since kept incommunicado in the State Security jails of Puerto Cabezas” and who, according to the National Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights was “detained in Special Region I under the orders of the Ministry of the Interior since October 25, 1982.” Commander Julio González, in charge of Special Region 1 of Puerto Cabezas, informed the staff members of the Secretariat that he “had never detained a Miskito by the name of Manuel Thompson Clark”, and showed a registry listing detainees, which did not include reference to Manuel Thompson Clark. Likewise, the two detainees who spoke to the staff members of the Secretariat in private, and who had been detained for two months and one year respectively, indicated that they had never heard mention of Manuel Thompson Clark.


          38.          The Commission can only express its deep concern over the facts described above, that shoe contradictory information given by Government agencies and which, therefore, should be investigated as soon as possible.


          39.          The Commission recognizes that the problem of the disappearances of Miskitos in Nicaragua entails aspects different from those in other countries where this deplorable phenomenon has taken place. For that reason, the Commission allows the possibility that, lacking a census of the population and given the conflict situation obtaining in the Nicaraguan Atlantic Region, some Miskitos may have changed their names, which is not unusual among them, and are now living in places other than where they lived before, or that others, who were presumed to have disappeared, may have moved to Honduras. However, at the same time, the Commission cannot fail to express its deep concern over this problem, given the absence of any kind of formality in carrying out detentions of Miskitos, the lack of notification to their families when they have been moved to Managua, and the absence of a list containing the names of Miskitos who have been detained and their place of detention.


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14            Proposal Document of the Government of Nicaragua to the IACHR, August 24, 1982, page 16.

15            United Nations, Human Rights Committee: Study of the report submitted by the states parties in conformity with Article 40 of the Pact, Nicaragua CCPR/C/14/ page 3, March 8, 1983, page 54.

16            Article 7 of the American Convention states: 1. Every person has the right to personal liberty and security. 2. No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except for the reasons and under the conditions established beforehand by the constitution of the State Party concerned or by a law established pursuant thereto. 3. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment. 4. Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him. 5. Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings. His release may be subject to guarantees to assure his appearance for trial. 6. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to recourse to a competent court, in order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his arrest or detention and order his release if the arrest or detention is unlawful. In States Parties whose laws provide that anyone who believes himself to be threatened with deprivation of his liberty is entitled to recourse to a competent court in order that it may decide on the lawfulness of such threat, this remedy may not be restricted or abolished. The interested party or another person in his behalf is entitled to seek these remedies. 7. No one shall be detained for debt. This principle shall not limit the orders of a competent judicial authority issued for nonfulfillment of duties of support.

17             Article 5 states: 1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected. 2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. 3. Punishment shall not be extended to any person other than the criminal. 4. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons. 5. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated from adults and brought before specialized tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be treated in accordance with their status as minors. 6. Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of the prisoners.

18            Article 8 states: 1. Every person has the right to a hearing, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal, previously established by law, in the substantiation of any accusation of a criminal nature made against him or for the determination of his rights and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal, or any other nature. 2. Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right to be presumed innocent so long as his guilt has not been proven according to law. During the proceedings, every person is entitled, with full equality, to the following minimum guarantees: a. the right of the accused to be assisted without charge by a translator or interpreter, if he does not understand or does not speak the language of the tribunal or court; b. prior notification in detail to the accused of the charges against him; c. adequate time and means for the preparation of his defense; d. the right of the accused to defend himself personally or to be assisted by legal counsel of his own choosing, and to communicate freely and privately with his counsel; e. the inalienable right to be assisted by counsel provided by the state, paid or not as the domestic law provides, if the accused does not defend himself personally or engage his own counsel within the time period established by law; f. the right of the defense to examine witnesses present in the court and to obtain the appearance, as witnesses, of experts or other persons who may throw light on the facts; g. the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself or to plead guilty; and h. the right to appeal the judgment to a higher court. 3. A confession of guilt by the accused shall be valid only if it is made without coercion of any kind. 4. An accused person acquitted by a nonappealable judgment shall not be subjected to a new trial for the same cause.5. Criminal proceedings shall be public, except insofar as may be necessary to protect the interests of justice.

19            Among the pastors and Moravian clergy who are currently imprisoned or who were detained and have disappeared, the following may be cited: Higinio Morazán, Morris Vidaurre, Nilio López, Sandalio Patrón, Angel Bello, Serminio Nicho, Fernando Justiniano, Nicolás Zamora, Ortega Walden, Lorenzo Nicho, Tomás Zamora, Teodoro Downs and Samuel Mercado. The following pastors and Moravian Religious were detained and later released: Juan Martínez, Tomás Dixon, Guido Herrera, Burton Benjamin, Santos Kleban, Salvador Sarmiento, Santiago Obando, Finler Vanegas, Gustavo Downs, Ricardo Castillo, Rolando Downs, Bernardo Arthur, Joaquín Webb, Diógenes Molina, Abel Flores and Roberto Peralta.

20            When the Special Commission visited Nicaragua in May 1982, there were 172 Miskitos in detention: 125 in Managua and 47 in Puerto Cabezas.

21            In his visit to the Secretariat of the Commission on September 19, 1983, the National Commissioner for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Ambassador Leonte Herdocia, stated that on that date approximately 300 Miskitos were detained and that all of them were in the Minimal Security Work Farm near Managua.

22            See “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Republic of Nicaragua”, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.53 doc.25 of June 30, 1981, pages 97 and 98.

23            Page 121 states verbatim in the record that the apprehended arms were the following: “1. Old rifle, approximately a meter long, make and model number impossible to determine; 2. A twenty-two (22) rifle model number 812225 LORI-E, with other letters that are illegible; 3. An old rifle, with no apparent make, model or number, approximately a rod long; 4. Shotgun Number 9T651, with no indication of make or model, approximately a meter long; 5. Shotgun which shows on the upper part of the cock the following number, 641-449, approximately a meter long, make and model impossible to determine.”

24            The Government of Nicaragua, on December 1, 1983, promulgated a decree, which in its resolutive part provides: “ARTICLE I: Amnesty is granted to Nicaraguan citizens of Miskito origin who have committed crimes against public safety and order and whatever related crimes between December 1, 1981 and December 1, 1983, and who currently are found in any of the following situations: A) Under detention, whether already sentenced, pending sentence, pending trial, by order of the Attorney General’s Office, or detained for investigation. B) At large, either inside or outside national territory. ARTICLE II: Amnesty is also granted to all Nicaraguan citizens who, because of the events that occurred along the Coco River or, whatever other event that has occurred as a consequence of the aggression that has been imposed upon northern Zelaya between December 1, 1981, and December 1, 1983, have become involved in the criminal activities referred to in Article I. ARTICLE III: In order to partake in the benefits of this law, Nicaraguan citizens who are outside national territory may freely return and join in the tasks required by the Revolution. ARTICLE IV: The Delegation of the Government Junta in the northern Zelaya region is empowered to adopt the appropriate procedures to facilitate and expedite the reunification and the reincorporation in daily activities of all those benefited by the amnesty. ARTICLE V: Upon publication of this decree, the police and the authorities of the judicial, penitentiary, and security systems must immediately release the persons benefited by the amnesty.” A small number of Miskitos remain in detention, however, since they were not covered by this amnesty.