SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: November 29, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Unaffiliated

Region & Country:Americas | Nicaragua

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 29, 2023, police arrested sociologist Freddy Quezada at his residence in Managua, hours after he criticized the Ortega regime on social media.

Quezada is a former professor at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN). He was fired in 2018 after he criticized the government for violently repressing student protests. He also previously was a faculty member at Central American University (UCA), which was seized by the Ortega regime in August 2023 (see report), and the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (UPOLI), seized in February 2022 (see report).

In the days leading up to his arrest, Quezada – using the pseudonym “Uliteo” – published several posts on X criticizing government policies. Hours after his final post, national police broke into his home, handcuffed him, and transported him to a local police station. On December 5, 2023, Quezada was transferred to the Jorge Navarro Penitentiary System in Tipitapa, known as “La Modelo.” He was not provided with legal representation and authorities did not provide a reason for the transfer. His family has not been informed of his status in prison and he is not receiving access to medical care.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the imprisonment of a scholar in apparent retaliation for his expressive activity. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from restricting or retaliating against expressive activity, so long as it is nonviolent and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, arbitrary detentions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

Sources:
https://confidencial.digital/english/nicaraguan-sociology-professor-freddy-quezada-arrested/
https://www.pen-international.org/news/pen-calls-for-release-of-philosopher-and-author-freddy-quezada
https://www.coyuntura.co/post/la-desaparici%C3%B3n-del-pensador-r%C3%A9gimen-sandinista-secuestra-al-soci%C3%B3logo-y-profesor-freddy-quezada
https://www.articulo66.com/2023/12/04/freddy-quezada-la-modelo-nicaragua-preso-politico/
https://www.oas.org/es/CIDH/jsForm/?File=/es/cidh/prensa/comunicados/2024/004.asp