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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

European delegation calls on Nicaragua to release political prisoners after visiting journalists in prison



For the first time, the director of 100% Noticias, Miguel Mora, and the news director of the same media outlet, Lucía Pineda, sent video messages from prison in which it’s possible to see the precarious conditions of their confinement.

Journalists Lucía Pineda and Miguel Mora from prison. (Screenshots)

Mora and Pineda, who were jailed by the government on Dec. 21 at the prison known as El Chipote, met with a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who visited Nicaragua for three days to assess the country's crisis, El Nuevo Diario reported.

"When I entered Miguel Mora's cell he had gone 35 days without being able to see the sun, he asked us for light and a bible, it is not admissible. The prison conditions are inadequate," said Spanish MEP Ramón Jáuregui, according to La Prensa.

On Jan. 26, at a press conference, the delegation demanded that the government of Daniel Ortega release the political prisoners, that the siege against journalists and civil society organizations be stopped.

The messages that both Mora and Pineda sent to Nicaraguans were broadcast via Twitter by José Inácio Faria, one of the MEPs, according to La Prensa.

"They are criminalizing freedom of the press, they are criminalizing freedom of expression. I believe that the Government must recognize that this is impossible if calling Nicaragua a democratic State and a State of laws is desired," Mora said in his message, according to El Nuevo Diario.

Pineda and Mora face charges of “fomenting and inciting hate and violence” and “provocation, proposition and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts," DW published.

The director of 100% Noticias also said in his message that the trial that awaits him and Pineda has a prosecutor, a judge and the media that will cover it from the government’s side.

"Nicaraguan journalism is not going to give in, we have not changed our minds, they can close us, threaten us, invent trials, imprison us, they can even kill us, because they have already killed a comrade, they can hurt us with a bullet, but the commitment of Nicaraguan journalism is to maintain freedom of expression and freedom of the press so that other freedoms in Nicaragua can return once God so desires," Mora said.

The lawyer for Mora and Pineda, Julio Montenegro, also a lawyer of the Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH, for its initials in Spanish) reported that both journalists went 31 days without being able to see their families and that Mora sleeps on the floor in a dark cell, Confidencial reported.

In her message, Pineda asks Nicaraguans and the world to continue praying for Nicaragua, La Prensa published. "What I tell you is that, prayer and that we always want freedom because we are not criminals, in my case, I am a journalist," Pineda said.

Pineda also asked the Nicaraguan government to attend to the requests of her relatives in Costa Rica and the authorities of that country, because she has dual nationality as a Nicaraguan-Costa Rican. However, the Costa Rican Consulate in Nicaragua reported that although they are closely following the process against the journalist, no family member in Costa Rica has yet to file a petition for repatriation, El Nuevo Diario reported.

In the police raid of channel 100% Noticias on the night of Dec. 21, Pineda and Mora were arrested along with Verónica Chávez, Mora’s wife, who was released hours later, according to Confidencial.

"Subhuman conditions for prisoners of conscience. Subhuman conditions in the prisons offered by the Ortega regime. I ask for immediate freedom for these citizens, who are not criminals and who only love their country," Faria posted on his Twitter account.

After their visit, the MEPs warned the government that if the country’s crisis continues, unleashed by the regime's own repression, the European Union could make legal decisions regarding the agreements on human rights and democracy to which Nicaragua is subscribed, Confidencial published.



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