The arrest came shortly before a virtual press conference scheduled for Wednesday at 12 noon local time, her press team told CNN. Her brother Carlos Chamorro said on Twitter that police searched her home in Managua and stayed for more than five hours.
According to a statement from the Nicaraguan State Ministry, Chamorro was charged with money laundering and mismanagement by the Violeta Barrios Foundation, a nonprofit that she ran. She denies the allegations.
Prosecutors said in a statement that they had requested precautions to be taken against Chamorro, including travel restrictions and exclusion from public office.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized the arrest, saying that “the arbitrary ban” on Chamorro “reflects Ortega’s fear of free and fair elections”.
Speaking to CNNE Thursday, José Miguel Vivanco, America’s director of Human Rights Watch, expressed deep concern about the charges against Chamorro and urged the international community to do more.
“Cristiana Chamorro is one of the contenders who could defeat [Ortega] and for that they invented this criminal practice that has no basis and accuse it of fiction like money laundering and a number of other articles of the criminal code, “he said.
“The truth is that Cristiana Chamorro, like every other citizen in Nicaragua today, is completely defenseless and exposed to all kinds of arbitrariness.”