Miami (February 10, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expresses "relief" at the release of 222 prisoners from Nicaragua, including Juan Lorenzo Holmann, general manager of La Prensa and regional vice president of the organization, who were deported yesterday to Washington D.C. The IAPA, however, condemned the recent sentences against two of the newspaper's employees.
The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, said: "Although we are encouraged by the release of the prisoners, we repudiate that the regime has deported them and declared them traitors for exercising their right to freedom of expression and dissenting from the government."
In addition to Holmann, were liberated yesterday, the members of the board of directors of La Prensa, Cristiana Chamorro and Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, and journalists Miguel Mora, Miguel Mendoza, and Jaime Arellano, among other communicators, students, business people, religious and social leaders. Holmann received the "IAPA Grand Prize for Press Freedom" in 2021. Mora received the same award in 2018 for Nicaragua's independent journalism.
Jornet, the editor of the Argentine daily La Voz del Interior, added: "While we celebrate the releases, we consider it an aberration that a few hours earlier, two La Prensa drivers were sentenced to 10 years in prison. It is another example of the dictatorial government's sick persecution of journalists and media workers."
"Suffering persecution, self-exile, or exile are today the three options facing journalists, media executives, and social leaders who do not submit to the regime's dictates. And thus, the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship is silencing all internal questioning and imposing a single way of thinking to perpetuate itself in power," he emphasized.
The Nicaraguan National Assembly approved a reform to Article 21 of the Constitution yesterday. The change would imply that Nicaraguans convicted of "treason" would be stripped of their nationality.
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 in the Western Hemisphere, based in Miami, Florida, United States.