EXCLUSIVE: The cast of the CW’s Riverdale is showing love and support for series creator and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa amid news that his father, Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, 77, has been sentenced in Nicaragua for treason and conspiracy.
The update arrives after the family’s two-month-long search for answers regarding the elder Aguirre-Sacasa’s whereabouts.
“My name is K.J. Apa and we’re on the set of Riverdale,” said the series star, who portrays Archie Andrews, in the exclusive video above. “Over the years, all of us who have been part of making this show has become a family.”
Casey Cott adds, “And right now, someone from our family needs your help.”
Deadline spoke to Roberto and his sister Georgiana in early Aug. about their father’s outspoken criticism of the Central American country’s regime led by President Daniel Ortega that may have led to his capture. The government has since officially confirmed the charges for which Francisco was incarcerated, his location, and has allowed his wife Maria to visit him for 10 minutes.
“The good news is that my mom has finally had contact with my dad, after more than a month. She was allowed to see him briefly last week at the El Chipote federal prison in Managua,” Roberto tells Deadline. “The bad news is that two days after that visit, my father was officially charged – for treason and conspiracy, which are completely bogus charges. Other political prisoners have also been charged for various made-up crimes. That means my dad’s no longer ‘under investigation for 90 days,’ as he had been, and can now be imprisoned indefinitely.”
The matriarch of the Aguirre-Sacasa family has attempted multiple times to provide the prison with medications her husband depends on. She has repeatedly been turned down or the items have been accepted but never reached Francisco.
“My mother was very shaken after their meeting. He’d lost weight and seemed somber and confused,” the TV boss revealed. “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.”
On the heels of the conviction confirmation, the family remains undeterred in fighting for their father’s freedom and that of other political prisons facing a similar fate.
“We are absolutely staying hopeful, but it’s hard. 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. 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.”
He added, “As for next steps, we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing – getting the word out about my father and the other prisoners. Trying to raise awareness about the human rights violations happening in Nicaragua on a daily basis. In the meantime, my dad has a private hearing coming up in front of a judge, so we’ll see what happens at that.”
Roberto says he was “completely blown away” by the gesture from his devoted cast who are using their social platforms to help raise awareness.
At this juncture, he remains steadfast in getting his father’s story heard by as many people around the globe and putting pressure on the Ortega/Murillo regime in the coming months leading into elections.
“We will continue to fight and speak out against the injustices happening to our father and the other prisoners,” he said. “To help, share our story and theirs. Share the video and tag #FreeFrancisco and #SOSNicaragua. And if you pray, keep the prisoners in your prayers.”
Watch the cast of Riverdale plead for the release of Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa and his fellow political prisoners above.