US sanctions Nicaraguan Vice President

Washington: The US has imposed sanctions against Nicaragua’s Vice President Rosario Murillo, the wife of President Daniel Ortega, accusing her of corruption and serious human rights abuses.

She is believed to have influenced a youth organisation that the US says engaged in extra-judicial killings, torture and kidnapping, the BBC reported.

The sanctions will ban US individuals, banks and other entities from carrying out transactions with the pair, who will also have any assets that fall under US jurisdiction frozen.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury said it was using a new executive order issued by US President Donald Trump to punish Murillo, accusing her of undermining Nicaragua’s democracy.

Sanctions were also imposed on the presidential couple’s security advisor, her aide, Nestor Moncada Lau, who was accused of carrying out orders by paying armed groups to attack protestors during months of anti-government disturbances earlier in 2018.

Murillo has ruled Nicaragua jointly with Ortega for more than a decade. She is accused of controlling the police and the youth wing of the governing Sandinista Liberation Front.

Earlier in November, opposition activist Felix Maradiaga told the BBC that human rights in Nicaragua were at the “most severe crisis in generations”. Maradiaga was forced to flee his country in July after receiving death threats.

The Central American nation has been through huge upheaval in 2018. In April, anti-government protesters demanded that the socialist President Ortega step down over unpopular pension reforms.

However, he refused to negotiate and instead sent in the security forces. Hundreds were then killed in the space of weeks.