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Journalists and staff of the Nicaraguan newspaper “La Prensa” had to go into exile due to the persecution of the Ortega regime

The Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa, critical of the Daniel Ortega regime, reported Thursday that its staff, including journalists and photographers, have left the country in recent days for fear of being imprisoned and will operate digitally from exile.

“The persecution that the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega intensified against the staff of the newspaper La Prensa this month forced the staff of the newspaper to flee the country,” he said on the front page of his digital edition, the only one that has been active since August of the year past.

“Journalists, editors, photographers and other personnel were forced to leave Nicaragua irregularly in the last two weeks, to protect their safety and freedom,” said the newspaper, the oldest in the country, with 95 years of existence.

The media said that it took this measure after the arrest of two drivers of the newspaper on July 6, who were later placed in preventive detention for 90 days to be investigated for crimes that were not specified.

“The arrests (of both workers) were followed by raids on the homes of several journalists, photographers and other media personnel. This situation forced La Prensa to place its personnel under guard and subsequently remove them from the country,” he explained.

“Despite the fact that the staff is not in their homes, police and civilians continue to come to their homes to harass their families,” he said.

The Nicaraguan media pointed out that its staff left “irregularly due to fear of being detained at the country’s borders, several had to flee without taking their passports with them or carrying only expired documents, since for months the regime has refused to renew the travel documents of journalists from independent media, as part of the systematic repression and attacks on press freedom.”

La Prensa announced that “it is in the process of reorganizing its newsroom abroad to continue reporting.”

On August 14, 2021, the Police arrested the manager of the newspaper La Prensa, Juan Lorenzo Holmann, one day after raiding the newspaper’s facilities. Since then, the media reported only through its digital platform.

The occupation of the newspaper occurred in the context of the arrest of dozens of opponents, including seven former candidates for the presidency, prior to the November elections in which Ortega obtained his fourth consecutive term since 2007.

Among those arrested, but under house arrest, are also two directors of the newspaper: the former presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro, and her brother Pedro, both sons of former president Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (1990-1997).

Cristiana, Pedro and Juan Lorenzo Holmann were sentenced between March and April to sentences of eight and nine years for money laundering.

The Ortega regime accuses the detained opponents of conspiring against his government with the support of Washington to destabilize the country.

The NGO Committee for the Protection of Journalists called this week for the release of the detained La Prensa workers.

La Prensa’s complaint comes within the framework of the sociopolitical crisis that, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), has left at least 355 dead in Nicaragua, of which Ortega has admitted 200, more than 200,000 exiles, and that It maintains more than 190 convicts whom humanitarian organizations consider “political prisoners”.

According to the Nicaraguan Independent Journalists and Communicators movement (PCIN), some 120 journalists have opted for exile since the beginning of the crisis, in 2018.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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