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IACHR adopts precautionary measures for journalist’s widow and other press workers being targeted in Nicaragua

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted precautionary measures for the widow of a journalist killed in Nicaragua while covering protests and members of a radio station that was set on fire.

A woman stands near a burning barricade holding the national flag of Nicaragua. (By Voice of America [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

These actions are taking place in the midst of massive protests initially against proposed pension reforms, but that have grown into demonstrations against the administration of President Daniel Ortega. As the protests continue, so do attacks on journalists and press workers in the country.

The IACHR granted precautionary measures to Migueliuth Sandova Cruz and her family members after Sandova's husband, journalist Ángel Gahona, was killed in Bluefields on April 21 while covering protests.

“Information received indicates that the beneficiaries are allegedly target of different forms of intimidation, including the presence of 20 persons in motorbikes (‘motorizados’) who allegedly made shots to the air in her residence, in order for them to ‘keep quiet,’” a July 5 release from the IACHR said.

Members of Radio Darío were also granted precautionary measures after their radio station was set on fire on April 20.

“In accordance with the information received, the beneficiaries were allegedly targets of several threats and intimidation, allegedly with the goal of causing fear and preventing the dissemination of information and complaints through the radio,” the IACHR said, adding it also was informed that there were armed people near the director’s home and that the threats and harassment continue.

The IACHR requested that Nicaragua “ensure that its agents respect the life and personal integrity of the proposed beneficiaries in accordance with standards established by international human rights law, and protect their rights in relation to acts of risk that are attributable to third parties.” It also asked the State to report on investigations of the alleged events that led to the precautionary measures.

The IACHR said it has adopted resolutions requesting precautionary measures of 64 people since its May working visit to the country. It added that it has requested information from the State for 57 more requests. It will also request more information from 76 more applicants.

The adoption of the precautionary measures is done through the Special Follow-up Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI, for its acronym in Spanish) “to protect persons in a serious and urgent danger of irreparable harm in the context of the serious human rights crisis in the country.”

On June 28, a group of independent Nicaraguan journalists rejected recent aggressions against journalists and demanded the State institute a zero-tolerance policy in the face of these aggressions.

They named several attacks on journalists, including Gahona’s murder and the fire at Radio Darío, as well as continued death threats received by owner Aníbal Toruño, his family and co-workers.

The journalists expressed hope that the MESENI would be able to successfully complete its work to help “eliminate violence that the police and parapoliciales groups have unleashed.”


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