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US Navy veteran killed in Nicaragua prison riot

Nicaraguan anti government protests (Voice of America/WikiCommons)
May 22, 2019

A Nicaraguan-American dual national who served in the U.S. Navy was killed Thursday in a prison uprising in Nicaragua.

Eddy Montes Praslin, 56, was fatally shot in La Modelo prison that houses hundreds of anti-government inmates after the inmates reportedly “rushed the guards” in a revolt, the Associated Press reported.

At least 17 other inmates were wounded during the conflict.

Some 70 political prisoners are represented by Attorney Yonarqui Martínez, who said she has evidence that Praslin was not shot during the incident but rather in the back at a later time.

Marvin Montes, Praslin’s cousin, explained to the Associated Press that his cousin was sent to prison in October when he went to the police to report that pro-government activists were living on his property in Matagalpa. As a result of his police report, he was charged with terrorism, aggravated robbery, obstruction of public services and attacking the mayor’s office.

He was then incarcerated and represented by the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights.

The president of the human rights center, Vilma Núñez said, “We have an account of the persecution that he suffered over his property going back more than two years.”

There was also another factor to consider; Praslin was a witness to government agents murdering someone and he offered to testify.

“Eddy was there and saw everything,” his cousin said.

U.S. Ambassador Kevin Sullivan expressed the U.S. government’s condolences when he met with the family Friday.

He said on Twitter, “They deserve a comprehensive and credible account of this unjustifiable use of lethal force against an unarmed political prisoner.”

Praslin relocated to the States when he was 13. After completing school in California, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, according to the Modesto Bee.

Since 2006, Praslin was more established in Nicaragua but did often travel between there and the U.S. He later studied medicine and earned a degree in law in 2018 from a college in Nicaragua.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said demonstrations started in April 2018 by students that wanted President Ortega to leave office.

Pro-government soldiers, along with armed security forces put an end to the protests where hundreds died, thousands were wounded, and tens of thousands fled Nicaragua.

Praslin’s funeral is scheduled for Sunday. Praslin’s daughter, Eddy Jafet Montes, a California resident, said she plans to make the trip to Nicaragua for her father’s funeral, but she is very apprehensive about the dangers of traveling there.

“If they threw my father in jail under any excuse, I feel they could do the same to us,” she said.