Nicaragua's National Assembly restored several civil liberties today that had been suspended in an Oct. 15 decree broadening a state of emergency.
The rights restored during an all-day session were principally judicial freedoms, including the right to a jury, the right to attorney, protection from self-incrimination and the right to habeas corpus for prisoners not accused of crimes against "the security of the nation and the public order."
The suspension of other rights, such as the right to strike, the right to outdoor assembly and the right to free expression, was ratified by the 96-member assembly for a period of one year.
Rafael Solis, a top delegate for the Sandinista National Liberation Front, said the restoration does not represent a concession to widespread opposition to the Oct. 15 decree. Rather, he said the move was made to correct a "technical error," adding, "it was never our intention to suspend those liberties."
The decree, which widely broadened restrictions on civil liberties, had provoked almost universal opposition from political parties to the left and the right of the ruling Sandinista Front, including allies of the Sandinistas.
Leaders of seven parties called for the complete suspension of the decree.
During today's heated debate, representatives of the Conservative and Independent Liberal Party walked out. Some delegates refused to attend the session. "They didn't want to legitimize the decree with their presence," Solis said. "