A well-known activist that helps LGBTI Nicaraguans in exile has been arrested by police in Nicaragua.
According to reports, Ulises Rivas was arrested in a town called Comalapa, roughly 125 kilometres east of the country’s capital of Managua.
The police have accused him of robbing a woman and a cell phone video given to the Washington Blade shows Rivas’ sister-in-law, niece and friends surrounding him and pleading with at least two uniformed police officers before they arrested him.
“He is not a delinquent,” said a woman who was not visible in the video. “He is not a criminal.”
Rivas, who is also an environmental activist, fled to Costa Rica after protests against the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, began in April 2018.
Rivas is responsible for creating the Asociación Hijos del Arco Iris LGBTI, a group in the Costa Rican capital of San José that helps LGBTI Nicaraguans who are in exile in the country.
Rivas returned to Nicaragua last month after his father died, even though the country’s government and its supporters continue to target LGBTI people and others who have participated in the protests.
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, a D.C.-based organization that works with human rights activists in Latin America, on Monday condemned Rivas’ arrest.
“We denounce the arrest of LGBTI activist and environmentalist Ulises Rivas, who was detained after he returned from exile in Costa Rica,” tweeted the organization. “This and other arbitrary arrests demonstrate that there is no state provision to ensure the safe return of Nicaraguan exiles.”
#Nicaragua – Denunciamos el arresto del activista LGBTI y ambientalista Ulises Rivas, detenido tras regresar del exilio en Costa Rica. Esta y otras capturas arbitrarias demuestran que no hay disposición estatal para asegurar el retorno seguro de los exiliados nicaragüenses. https://t.co/wbfIy1CPZi
— Race and Equality (@raceandequality) September 2, 2019
Rivas remains in custody and is expected to appear in court for the first time on Tuesday.