Miami (September 22, 2022) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) supports the request of family members to release journalist Miguel Mendoza, sentenced by the Nicaraguan regime to nine years in prison. The organization has publicly insisted on his release and that of two other journalists on humanitarian grounds, taking into account the deplorable conditions in which they are serving their sentences and the rapid deterioration of their health.
The following is the press release by the relatives of journalist and sports reporter Miguel Mendoza, released on September 21.
"Thanking journalists from different media and citizens who attended this call, we address you as relatives of the independent journalist and sports reporter, Miguel Mendoza Urbina.
We want to express our concerns about his health condition and the motivation that Miguel confided to us during his last visit on August 27.
This September 21, our brother, life partner, father, son, uncle, and friend will be 15 months in prison or 457 days of being held hostage in the Dirección de Auxilio Judicial, known as Nuevo Chipote. It is described as a torture center, where Miguel has been locked up for no other reason than to exercise his right to expression, permitted by our Political Constitution in its Article 30.
During this time, Miguel has not been able to see his 8-year-old daughter Alejandra. During the visit on Saturday, August 27, Miguel was informed about the physical and emotional affectations that this cruel and forced separation had caused his daughter. She wrote to him: "Hi daddy, I have recorded videos; I have made drawings hoping someone can show them to you. My heart suffers a lot because I have more than a year of not seeing you. I love you."
Despite being a strong man with an incredibly emotional state, those who know him know how to read in the brightness of his eyes, the anguish that has caused him to know how badly his daughter is suffering. For this reason, in this last opportunity, Miguel has expressed that if he were not allowed to see the girl before September 19, he would start a hunger strike until he is allowed to meet Alejandra again.
We have shared with you, in these painful months, that Miguel is a chronic patient and has lost more than 30 pounds. Naturally, therefore, this measure puts his health and life at risk. Nevertheless, although Miguel is aware of the dangers, he considers this the only way in his attempts to hug his daughter again.
It is important to remember that his lawyer has filed eleven requests for Miguel to be able to see his daughter, but he did not receive a single response.
We demand the release of Miguel, who has not been able to prove a single crime, so he is imprisoned due to an action inconsistent with the principles and articles contained in the constitutional precepts of Nicaragua.
We also demand that they refrain from continuing to take away Alejandra's right to be able to see her father. He is a model of honesty and patriotism for her and the rest of her family.
We thank the Nicaraguan citizens, human rights organizations, and national and international actors for accompanying us in this challenging moment.
Thank you for raising your voices for the release of Miguel Mendoza and the political prisoners of Nicaragua. Long live civil liberties!"
The IAPA has reiterated on numerous occasions its request to the international community to close ranks on the cases of journalists Mendoza, Miguel Mora, Jaime Arellano, Juan Lorenzo Holmann, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, and Cristiana Chamorro. Furthermore, the IAPA has held the government responsible for whatever might happen to them.
Cristiana Chamorro is serving her sentence under house arrest. In addition, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro and Jaime Arellano were transferred from prison to house arrest due to the deterioration of their health.
Mendoza, Mora and Hollman remain in prison.
The IAPA keeps the case of Nicaragua and prisoners of conscience on the public agenda. Last April, together with 26 other national and international press organizations, it signed the Declaration on Nicaragua. In May, during a mission to Washington, D.C., it denounced the imprisonment and persecution of Nicaraguan journalists before the State Department, legislators, the Organization of American States, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and human rights institutions. In July, the IAPA launched a public campaign in the media and social media to disseminate the profiles of each journalist.
The IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications in the Western Hemisphere, based in Miami, Florida, United States.