RSF, CPJ call on Nicaragua to release two journalists held on terrorism charges
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the detention of two independent journalists in Nicaragua, and called on Nicaraguan authorities to immediately release them and drop all charges against them.
Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau, journalists for the independent cable and digital channel 100% Noticias, have been held in pre-trial detention on charges of “inciting violence and hate” and “promoting terrorism” since their arrest during a police raid on their Managua newsroom on December 21, exactly two months ago.
“The ongoing detention and baseless charges against Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda are the clearest sign of the stark deterioration of press freedom conditions within Nicaragua,” said CPJ South and Central America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. “Mora and Pineda have now spent two months behind bars, showing just how far the Nicaraguan government is willing to go to silence critical reporting. Nicaraguan authorities should immediately let them return home to their families and stop the transparent attempts to criminalize journalism.”
Since their arrest, Mora and Pineda have been held in solitary confinement with no visits from family or lawyers for over a month, and rushed through multiple court appearances with limited access to legal representation, according to reports. Their next court date is set for March 18. Conditions in the prisons where they are being held are notoriously poor, and family members and lawyers have reported that Mora is suffering from health issues as a result of his imprisonment.
“Covering opposition political activity cannot, under any circumstances, be regarded as a terrorist activity. Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda do not belong in prison, nor does any Nicaraguan journalist,” said Emmanuel Colombié, head of RSF’s Latin America desk. “The government of President Daniel Ortega must respect international guarantees for freedom of expression, stop harassing the independent press, and allow these unjustly imprisoned reporters to return to their work without fear of violent reprisal, interference, or arrest.”
Nicaragua is ranked 90th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.