'Riverdale' 's Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Father Has Been Missing in Nicaragua for More Than 10 Days

"We fear the worst," Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said of his father who is believed to have been kidnapped or arrested amid unrest in the country

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Photo: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa/instagram. inset: getty

Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa seeking the safe return of his 76-year-old father, Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, who has been missing in Nicaragua for more than 10 days and is believed to be detained somewhere in the country.

The screenwriter, who is also the Chief Creative Officer at Archie Comics, opened up about the patriarch in a lengthy Instagram post on Thursday, writing, "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.' "

"My mom's okay, but we haven't seen or heard from my dad since that terrible day. We believe he's in a prison in Managua, but the truth is…we don't know," he continued. "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."

"My father wants Nicaragua to be a free, democratic country. He's dedicated his life to the betterment of his homeland and its citizens," Roberto wrote. "It's gotten him into trouble before, but never as dire as this. We fear the worst."

He added that his father, unfortunately, "isn't the only person this has happened to 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. Like the families of the other disappeared, we're figuring out what we can do, how we can help," Robert wrote.

Sharing a picture of Francisco with his grandchildren, Roberto said that that the family is currently "hoping and praying for his safe return" as well as "for the release of the other illegally imprisoned persons."

"We just want him home safe," he added of his father.

Francisco previously served as Nicaragua's ambassador to the United States from 1997 until 2000, when he moved back to the Central American country with his wife. Though his children were born and raised in the States, Francisco never became a citizen there.

He also served as Nicaragua's Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2002.

In an interview with Deadline published on Friday, Roberto and his sister, Georgiana Aguirre-Sacasa, gave more details about their father's arrest.

"About 10 days ago, I was flying back to Los Angeles from the East Coast where I was scouting locations for Pretty Little Liars when I got an emergency call from my sister Georgiana. She told me our father had been arrested or kidnapped, as he and our mom were driving to Costa Rica to board a flight to Washington, D.C., where my father was to have surgery," Roberto told the outlet.

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According to Georgiana, their father's passport was taken away at the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

"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," said Georgiana. "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."

Instead, Francisco was detained when he was stopped by police a second time while on his way back home from the border, the family said.

Roberto and Georgiana told Deadline that their mother returned home alone to find that their residence had been ransacked by police.

"We believe he is being kept as a political prisoner with an estimated 30 other people who have been detained similarly in past months in the lead-up to Nicaragua's election in November," Roberto said of his father.

"The current administration has been arresting anyone who attempted to run against Ortega or who have been speaking out against him and those who are fighting for a free democratic election. They've been disappeared," Roberto said. "We believe he's being kept at the infamous prison called El Chipote, where my mom has visited every day bringing food, water, and medicine for our father. She's been denied each time and the food and medication refused."

Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa
Francisco Aguirre-Sacas. DAVID LA SPINA/Getty

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The U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Friday that the regime under Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, has "arrested 32 political opponents and pro-democracy actors, including seven presidential candidates, a vice-presidential candidate, student activists, private sector leaders, defense attorneys, and others" just in the last two months.

In response, U.S. officials have imposed visa restrictions on 50 immediate family members of Nicaraguan National Assembly representatives and Nicaraguan prosecutors and judges on top of restrictions already imposed on 100 other individuals "who have directly contributed to measures adopted by the Government of Nicaragua that do not meet the conditions for transparent, free, and fair elections to which all OAS member states have committed under the Inter-American Democratic Charter," according to Price.

"As demonstrated by these visa actions and recent sanctions, the United States will continue to use diplomatic and economic tools to promote accountability for those who enable Ortega and Murillo's repression," Price said.

When reached for comment about Francisco's case, a spokesperson for the State Department directed PEOPLE to a tweet from its Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which said that the "Ortega-Murillo regime should immediately free Aguirre Sacasa, who is in delicate health."

"The regime has imposed a 90-day sentence during its so-called investigation," the tweet read. "A respected commenter on current affairs, Aguirre Sacasa's arbitrary detention is a part of the Ortega-Murillo regime's campaign of terror against independent voices."

The Aguirre-Sacasa family has set up a petition through their Justice for Francisco campaign demanding the release of the prisoners the Ortega-Murillo regime has taken captive.

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