Staff of the newspaper La Prensa leaves Nicaragua for safety
(CNN Spanish) — The newspaper La Prensa, through its digital edition, reported this Thursday – without specifying details – that its newsroom staff was “forced to leave Nicaragua” due to the “persecution of the Ortega regime.”
The outlet said that “journalists, editors, photographers and other personnel were forced to leave Nicaragua irregularly in the last two weeks to protect their safety and freedom.” La Prensa added that some workers left without documents or with expired documents because government institutions refused to renew them.
La Prensa added that the departure of its employees from the country began after what it called a “new attack” against the newspaper on the night of July 6, “when the police kidnapped two workers from the newspaper.” According to the note, “at the request of prosecutor Manuel Rugama, of the Public Ministry, the Seventh Criminal Court Judge of Managua, Abelardo Alvir Ramos, ordered 90 days in prison for both of them, without specifying what kind of suspicions the regime has against from them”.
The National Police and the Public Ministry have not reported on the causes of the arrest or the possible crime that is being investigated in the case of these two media workers. CNN contacted both entities for more information, but has not yet received a response to inquiries.
According to La Prensa, these two workers – whose names the families prefer to keep anonymous – remain in the facilities of the Directorate of Judicial Assistance. CNN has not been able to independently verify this information as there is no access to that agency. The Nicaraguan Judiciary has not provided details of this case.
The media outlet denounced that after the arrests, the raids on the homes of several journalists, photographers and other workers continued, “which forced La Prensa to place its personnel in shelter and later take them out of the country,” it says.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) expressed this Thursday that the “forced exile of press personnel is one more step towards the closure of any possibility of freedom of expression and the press. They are conditioning them to depend on other sources, making it impossible to verify in situation of the abuses committed by the regime and to be able to report from the outside”, warned the non-governmental organization.
Since August 2021, the facilities of La Prensa, a medium with more than 95 years of existence, have been taken over by the Police. Its general manager, Juan Lorenzo Holmann, was found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to 9 years in prison. Holmann, his family and his attorneys deny the charges, and have appealed the sentence.
Another member of the board of directors of La Prensa, former presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, was sentenced on March 21 to eight years in prison for money laundering and improper withholding, according to Cenidh. Her defense rejected the ruling and the charges that support it.