Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the Riverdale showrunner, has launched the #FreeFrancisco campaign on social media to bring to light the dire circumstances faced by Nicaraguan political prisoners like his father, Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa.
A vocal critic of the Nicaraguan government, Francisco worked as a columnist for the newspaper La Prensa, and as an official of the World Bank. He was taken to the El Chipote prison in Managua, Nicaragua, in July 2021.
Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, the father of the 'Riverdale' showrunner, was arrested in July 2021.
Francisco and his wife were reportedly headed to the Peñas Blancas crossing on the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica in July 2021 before his arrest.
As his daughter, Georgiana, told The Guardian, the border guards barred Francisco from leaving the country before seizing his passport. He was intercepted on the highway before being taken to the El Chipote federal prison near Managua.
Roberto first updated fans about the harrowing predicament his family is in on Aug. 5, 2021. As he wrote on Instagram, he and his family weren't given information about Francisco's whereabouts in the immediate aftermath of his detention. Francisco was charged with treason and conspiracy later. The #FreeFrancisco campaign brings attention to the dire circumstances of Nicaraguan anti-government figures. It also aims to free Francisco and more than 30 others.
"My name is KJ Apa, and we're on the set of Riverdale," the actor said at the beginning of the clip. "Over the years, all of us who have been part of making this show has become a family."
The stars explain that Francisco was taken to prison overnight. His circumstances continue to pose a grave worry for his family, as it's uncertain if he has to stay there without food or medication. Roberto also launched a petition, Justice for Francisco Aguirre Sacasa.
Roberto's mother was allowed to visit Francisco in prison just before he was charged with treason and conspiracy.
“My mother was very shaken after their meeting. He'd lost weight and seemed somber and confused," Roberto told Deadline. "He's very isolated and has no idea what's happening in the outside world or with his case. No one's telling him anything. He told her to stop trying to send him food, water, and medicine because things aren't getting to him."
Roberto has been able to speak with the relatives of other political prisoners, who believe the conditions where they're being held are inhumane. The lights are reportedly kept on day and night to confuse the prisoners, and exercise is forbidden.
"We’ve been in touch with some other family members of people who have been arrested and comparing notes. Some things we keep hearing are that it’s freezing in the cells at night," Roberto said. "That the prison is infested with mosquitoes and lights in the cells are kept on 24-7 to disorient the prisoners. That they aren’t allowed to exercise or to walk in the prison yard even."
You can sign the petition to free Francisco here. Keep up the fight, Roberto.