Last week Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega packed off 222 political leaders, priests, students, activists and other dissidents to the United States, their release long demanded by the international community.

Shortly after, Ortega’s government voted to strip the former prisoners of Nicaraguan citizenship, AP reports.

Analysts, legal experts and human rights groups are calling it a political ploy but also a violation of international law that they say is unprecedented — at least in the Western Hemisphere — in terms of scale and impact.

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