Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa revealed earlier this week that his father, Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, has been missing for almost two weeks. His family believes Francisco was taken by the government of Nicaragua, where Aguirre-Sacasa’s parents live. Francisco is a journalist and has been an outspoken critic of the Nicaraguan government and President Daniel Ortega, Aguirre-Sacasa wrote.
“Ten days ago, my father, Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, who lives in Nicaragua with my mom, where they were both born, was arrested by the military police and ‘disappeared,'” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote on Thursday, alongside a photo of his father and his children. Aguirre-Sacasa’s mother is fine, but they have not heard from Francisco since he was taken. They believe he is in prison in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, but they do not know for certain.
“What we do know is that my father was arrested because, as a journalist, he has been an outspoken critic of Nicaragua’s current political regime—President Ortega’s dictatorship,” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote. “My father wants Nicaragua to be a free, democratic country. He’s dedicated his life to the betterment of his homeland and its citizens. It’s gotten him into trouble before, but never as dire as this. We fear the worst.”
Aguirre-Sacasa noted that his father’s situation is not rare in Nicaragua. “There are more than thirty other political prisoners, and unlawful arrests continue to be made. Men, women, students, and politicians who have spoken against Nicaragua’s dictatorship and its terror tactics,” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote. Like the families of the other disappeared, we’re figuring out what we can do, how we can help. Stay tuned.”
The producer, who also serves as Archie Comics‘ chief creative officer, hoped that sharing his father’s story will shine a light on the situation in Nicaragua. “In the meantime, we’re sharing my dad’s story—and hoping and praying for his safe return. As well as for the release of the other illegally imprisoned persons,” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote. “If you pray, please include them in your prayers. My dad’s 76. That’s him in the picture with two of his grandchildren. We just want him home safe.”
On Friday, Aguirre-Sacasa and his sister Georgiana shared more details about the situation with Deadline. Their father was kidnapped or arrested as their parents drove to Costa Rica to get a flight to Washington, D.C., where Francisco was scheduled to have surgery. Francisco and their mother were stopped at the border, where Francisco’s passport was taken. “Around 15-20 minutes after his passport was taken, a statement was released saying our father was under investigation for treason and for being an enemy of the state,” Georgiana told Deadline. “He was supposed to return to his house where they’d follow up with him and see how to move forward in a case against him. But they didn’t.”
The Nicaraguan National Police stopped Francisco on the way back to Managua, and he has not been heard since. When Aguirre-Sacasa’s mother returned home, she found it had been searched. Aguirre-Sacasa and Georgiana said their father’s documents and computers were seized. Their family launched a Justice for Francisco campaign and petition to help raise awareness of their situation.
The U.S. State Department‘s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor called for Francisco’s release on Twitter Thursday. They believe Francisco is being detained at the “infamous El Chipote prison” and noted that his family has not heard any updates on his health. “The regime has imposed a 90-day sentence during its so-called investigation,” the State Department noted. “A respected commentator on current affairs, Aguirre-Sacasa’s arbitrary detention is part of the Ortega-Murillo regime’s campaign of terror against independent voices.”