French authorities on Thursday expressed “deep concern” over the arrest in Nicaragua of two women with French and Nicaraguan citizenship, accused of conspiracy and spreading false news.
Jeannine Horvilleur and Ana Álvarez Horvilleur are the wife and daughter, respectively, of Nicaraguan opposition leader Javier Álvarez, who fled the country and now lives in Costa Rica. Both were arrested and charged with conspiracy in September.
A spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said that Paris has requested permission to visit the women in prison, but that Nicaraguan authorities have not yet responded.
Javier Álvarez told Reuters that his daughter and his wife had been detained as a way to attack him. “They were arrested out of revenge because they didn’t find me,” he said.
Nicaraguan authorities did not respond to a request for comment.
Delphine Horvilleur, a rabbi and cousin of the family, also said on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) that she was very concerned for the well-being of both and called on the French government “not to abandon us.”
The Nicaraguan government has refused to give information to Paris, according to a French official familiar with the matter.
The women are being held in El Chipote prison, a notorious jail that the UN human rights office says has been used for torture.
Recently, Nicaragua has expelled the ambassador of the European Union and has cut its relations with the Vatican, while President Daniel Ortega continues to repress opposition to his government.