Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega. Photo by: Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas

94 dissidents in Nicaragua had their citizenship revoked by a court.

Award-winning author Sergio Ramirez, poet Gioconda Belli, and Catholic bishop Silvio Báez are among those labeled "traitors to the fatherland."

All 94 are outspoken critics of President Daniel Ortega, who is in his fourth consecutive term in office.

They join 222 other government dissidents who had their citizenship removed last week as the second group to experience this. Law experts have deemed the action to be against international law.

"Due to these facts, the accused can no longer be considered Nicaraguan citizens," Judge Ernesto Rodríguez said. He announced their properties in Nicaragua would be confiscated.

Rodríguez said the 94 had carried out "criminal acts to the detriment of peace, sovereignty, independence and self-determination of the Nicaraguan people."

Several of the 94 people on the list are ex-pats. The judge described them as "fugitives from justice" even though many of them left Nicaragua before any charges were leveled against them, reports BBC.

One of those who has been residing in exile in Spain is author Sergio Ramrez, who was awarded the 2017 Cervantes Award for Literature in Spain.

In the past, Ramrez was a trusted supporter of President Ortega, and from 1985 to 1990, he served as the president's vice president.

Nevertheless, he left the Ortega-led Sandinista Party in 1995 in opposition to what he said were Ortega's "autocratic tendencies."

In Jun. 2021, Ramrez departed Nicaragua as several opposition activists were being detained. He was charged with inciting hate and planning to destabilize Nicaragua three months later.

The Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, who has been in Miami for over three years, and a former Nicaraguan ambassador who called his government a dictatorship and has since been residing in the U.S. were both stripped of their nationality on Wednesday.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Central America denounced the action and urged Nicaragua "to immediately cease persecution and reprisal."

The deportation is part of a campaign by the Ortega administration to suppress political opposition that began with brutal security force repression of anti-government street rallies in 2018, reports ABC News.

The protests, which Ortega alleges were a foreign-funded plan to topple him, were organized by his opponents, whom he has referred to as "traitors" and who he insists were behind them. Several Nicaraguans have escaped the government's repression.

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