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Nicaragua to Free 300 Soldiers Jailed Since Revolution

January 24, 1987|United Press International

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — A government human rights panel said Friday that 300 former national guardsmen jailed after Nicaragua's revolution in 1979 will be freed this month for "humanitarian reasons" and "judicial errors."

The announcement by the government's National Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights involves 300 former soldiers in the National Guard that served as Nicaragua's army under former President Anastasio Somoza.

After the Sandinista-led revolution overthrew Somoza in July, 1979, several thousand guardsmen were jailed.

Sandinista leaders and some independent observers charge that some guardsmen committed human rights abuses. But the United States and other Sandinista opponents contend that Nicaragua's leftist government jails political opponents.

Commission President Vilma Nunez Escorcia said the former guardsmen would be released before the end of this month to "correct on one hand judicial errors and on the other hand take into account humanitarian reasons."

"The age, health and the cases of the former national guardsmen who have completed the greater part of their sentences of 15 years or less" were taken into consideration in releasing them, she said.

Nunez told reporters the commission is open to receiving complaints about human rights abuses by the government.

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