Nicaragua's new Sandinista led government, anxious to prove that it's not out for revenge, has allowed reporters to talk with National Guard prisoners being held at Tipitapa 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Managua in the country's main prison.
Nicaragua's new Sandinista led government, anxious to prove that it's not out for revenge, has allowed reporters to talk with National Guard prisoners being held at Tipitapa 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Managua in the country's main prison. The inspection was organised to back up the government's assurances that former supporters of ousted President Somoza won't be mistreated.
SYNOPSIS: As reporters and cameramen went into the prison they passed thousands of people waiting outside. These are friends and relatives of the prisoners being held by the Sandinista's. Many have queued here for days -- all have been frightened by ??? of torture and harsh conditions inside the jail.
Each day they bring food and clothing for the prisoners -- they're not allowed to take them into the jail, but the Sandinistas say the parcels are being passed on to the inmates.
Prison Modelo as it's officially known is the largest jail in Nicaragua... but it was only designed to house eight hundred prisoners-- at the moment there are three thousand.
The Sandinistas admit the jail is overcrowded but they're anxious to dispel the rumours of beatings and harsh treatment. During the open tour of the prison reporters were able to see conditions first hand and speak with the inmates. Most of the National Guardsmen said they were being well treated, something they hadn't expected. Some said they'd been told by Somoza officers that if captured by the Sandinistas they'd be tortured and killed.
Food and medical provisions in the jail are in short supply and many of the men have to sleep on pieces of cardboard stretched out on the floor.
The Sandinistas say soon friends and relative will be allowed to visit the prisoners and eventually most of these men will be freed. Some of them though will be accused of war crimes and stand trial, their fate to be decided by civil courts.