Independent journalism demands the freedom of sportswriter Miguel Mendoza

Men and women of the independent press exiled in Costa Rica demanded the freedom of political prisoners in Nicaragua and the annulment of the unconstitutional trial, which today, February 8, was scheduled against the prominent journalist Miguel Ángel Mendoza Urbina.

Mendoza is a 51-year-old sports journalist and chronicler, originally from Camoapa Boaco, with more than 25 years of professional experience, today he is a symbol of Press Freedom in Nicaragua. He is arbitrarily detained for making use of his constitutional rights to inform the population and express his opinion against the injustice that the people of Nicaragua have been experiencing as a result of the socio-political crisis since April 2018.

Among the accusatory evidence of the Public Ministry, is the existence of ten tweets and a Facebook post, thus the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has acted to silence the journalist with the alleged crime of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity ”.

As if it were a criminal act, they use a Twit published on June 2, 2021, which says verbatim: “Republican congresswoman María Elvira Salazar speaks about the search and arrest of Cristina Chamorro and warns the dictator Ortega that they are monitoring her action and that the Renacer Law is on the table”. For the Ortega Murillo government, this type of publication justifies the incarceration of the journalist, who to date has spent almost eight months in the jail popularly known as Chipote, being a victim of psychological torture, constant interrogations, and many deprivations of his human rights such as “ prisoner of conscience”.

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More than 30 people, including presidential hopefuls, lawyers, students, and journalists, were arrested for the alleged crimes of “treason against the fatherland,” according to Law 10-55, and also for “undermining national integrity,” according to the Article 410 of the Penal Code, from May to November 2021 and in Nicaraguan prisons there are more than 170 political prisoners, for which their freedom is also demanded.

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In an explanation made by Attorney Maynor Curtis, defender of Miguel Mendoza, who has not been allowed to speak with his client to date, he stated. “By using undermining national integrity, they are making another mistake because there is no evidence that someone is trying to separate territory from Nicaragua. They are applying this to hide the mistake that was made when applying the 10-55 law, ”says the lawyer.

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Freedom for Miguel Mendoza and all journalists political prisoners in Nicaragua

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In the sit-in that took place outside the College of Journalists of Costa Rica, exiled journalists from Nicaragua said “Miguel Mendoza made his views known on his social networks and that is why they want to incriminate him, but it is not possible to go over him.” the Political Constitution, that is why when the time comes, justice will shine and freedom for political prisoners will be possible.

With banners and slogans, the exiled journalists in CR shouted, they shouted Freedom for Miguel Mendoza! Freedom for all prisoners and political prisoners! It is a right of all people to access information and we cannot access it if we do not have free journalists!

Cristopher Mendoza, a member of PCIN, who was participating in the sit-in, said “We have had to leave the country because we are persecuted, for documenting our version of the truth, based on all the testimonies of the people who have seen all their rights violated. We will continue telling those stories that speak of the reality that our country is experiencing, which has been attacked by the repression of the Ortega regime,” said the political exiled journalist.

At this moment, the trial of Miguel Mendoza is taking place, the trials of other political figures that began on February 1 have been a marathon, it is not known how long Mendoza’s hearing will take, while his family waits “entrusted his hope to God”, his wife Margin Pozo declared in a publication.

For the Association of Independent Journalists and Communicators of Nicaragua, PCIN, the trial that is taking place today against Miguel Mendoza is “arbitrary.” “It is an illegal trial riddled with arbitrariness whose sole purpose is to try to silence the voices of the women and men of the press who report daily despite the risk it represents in Nicaragua.”

Miguel Mendoza, is the founder of this guild, PCIN, emerged from the sociopolitical crisis in 2018, when journalism in Nicaragua was left vulnerable to threats of repression, obstruction, criminalization, and censorship to carry out the task of informing. His colleagues who have been aware of his situation are running an active campaign denouncing the arbitrariness committed against Mendoza and he, since his confinement, “knows that he is not alone,” his family said.

“From Nicaraguan Independent Journalists and Communicators, PCIN, we repudiate all acts of cruelty, abuse of power, and malice committed against Miguel Mendoza and each of the persons deprived of liberty for exercising and defending press freedom in Nicaragua,” it reads in the statement.

Men and women who make up PCIN, demand and maintain that they will continue to resist. “PCIN continues to demand that the Nicaraguan state respect freedom of the press and expression in the country, we continue and will continue to practice journalism from wherever we are despite the threats of persecution and arbitrary laws.”

The independent union demands the freedom of Miguel Mendoza, and also of colleagues Miguel Mora, Cristiana Chamorro, Jaime Arellano, Juan Lorenzo Hollman, and journalism students Samantha Jirón and Lester Alemán.

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