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US Criticizes Nicaraguan Decision to Lift Immunity for Senior Government Officials

The United States has condemned a decision by Nicaragua's National Assembly to lift the immunity of some senior officials in President Enrique Bolanos' government.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement Friday that the legislature's actions could expose members of Nicaragua's democratic government to politically motivated persecution and harassment and weaken the rule of law. He said the legislators acted on "spurious political grounds."

The Assembly acted Thursday against Nicaraguan Interior Minister Julio Vega and another official. The move opens the way for trying them on campaign finance charges dating back to 2001.

Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza issued a statement voicing concern about the latest developments in Nicaragua. He said the National Assembly's decision acts against the possibility of resolving the country's political crisis.

President Bolanos has been increasingly isolated since leading an anti-corruption drive against his predecessor, Arnoldo Aleman.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.