IAPA deplores sentence against its regional vice president for Nicaragua


Miami (March 24, 2021) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) deplored the conviction of Juan Lorenzo Holmann Chamorro, general manager of La Prensa and regional vice president of the IAPA in Nicaragua. The organization said, "The regime has viciously demonstrated its intolerance of different thinking and freedoms."

IAPA President Jorge Canahuati and the chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, agreed in condemning "the savage Ortega-Murillo dictatorship that uses justice and invented crimes to imprison, under a supposed cloak of legality, those it labels as opponents. Once again, the regime demonstrated, with viciousness, its intolerance to different thinking and freedoms", they added.

Canahuati, executive president of the Opsa Group of Honduras, and Jornet, journalistic director of La Voz del Interior of Argentina, added, "It seems that we have to speak out daily against the rudeness of the regime. On this occasion, we deeply regret the sentence against our friend, partner, and colleague, who, in addition, has been suffering serious health problems since his imprisonment on August 14, 2021."

Last year the organization awarded the IAPA Grand Prize for Press Freedom to Holmann Chamorro, given the punishment and reprisals he suffered from the regime of Daniel Ortega and his wife and vice-president Rosa Murillo.

Canahuati and Jornet said that the problematic situation of freedom of expression and press freedom in Nicaragua would be one of the main topics of the IAPA's mid-year meeting, scheduled to be held virtually from April 19 to 21. The issue will also be part of the plan of an IAPA mission that will travel to Washington D.C. next May.

On March 21, the directors of the newspaper La Prensa, Cristiana Chamorro and Pedro Joaquín Chamorro were sentenced to eight and new years in prison, respectively. In addition, Walter Gómez, former administrator, and Marcos Fletes, former controller, both of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, were sentenced to 13 years in prison, while Pedro Vásquez, Cristiana Chamorro's driver, was sentenced to seven years. In addition, journalists Miguel Mora and Miguel Mendoza have been serving sentences of 13 and nine years, respectively.

The IAPA barometer that measures the performance of institutions in matters of freedom of expression and press, Chapultepec Index, has included Nicaragua for two consecutive years as one of the three countries in the Americas, together with Venezuela and Cuba, without press freedom.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.