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IAPA demands the freedom of six imprisoned journalists.

On July 13th, the Inter-American Press Agency (IAPA) warned of the deterioration of the state of health of six media workers jailed in Nicaragua and condemned to up to 13 years of detention. It called on the government of Daniel Ortega, which it holds responsible for what may happen, for their “immediate liberation.”

They are prisoners of conscience, sentenced in summary trials without due process and for non-existent crimes, the IAPA said, in a press release in which they asked the international community to close ranks in defense of Miguel Mora, Miguel Mendoza, Jaime Arellano, Cristiana Chamorro, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, and Juan Lorenzo Holman, who were all detained between June and August 2021.

Mora, Mendoza y Holmann are detained in El Chipote police jail in “deplorable conditions,” subjected to solitary confinement, bad food, and without medical attention, while Jaime Arellano, Cristiana y Pedro Joaquín Chamorro are under house arrest with grave restrictions and health problems.

“We are holding them responsible before the international community for what may happen, either to them or to the rest of the political prisoners,” the communication continued. The IAPA, to which Nicaragua belongs, emphasized that this is among the main themes to consider in its General Assembly in Madrid from 27-30 October.

Miguel Mendoza's deteriorating health was reported.

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) and the family of the sports writer Miguel Mendoza have denounced the “grave health situation” of the writer, who was tortured both physically and psychologically, has lost a lot of weight, and is not receiving medical attention at El Chipote.

The CENIDH distributed a video that denounced the situation in which Mendoza, who was detained on June 21, 2021, was condemned to nine years in jail for the supposed crime of “conspiracy,” was completely shaved against his will and has lost 30 pounds owing to the bad food and lack of medical attention, which he needs because he is diabetic.

Mendoza's only “crime” was to publish criticism of the government and demand the release of political prisoners on social media, has not been permitted to see his 8-year-old son, whom he has not seen since his arbitrary and illegal arrest.

Miguel Mora on hunger strike.

Journalist Miguel Mora, a former presidential candidate imprisoned in the El Chipote police prison since June 2021, has begun a hunger strike to demand that the Ortega regime allow him to see his son and receive a bible, said his wife, journalist Verónica Chávez.

"He demands to be allowed to see Miguelito, the boy is suffering a lot for not seeing his father and has had mood crises," said Chávez, recalling that the journalist's son has a motor disability and can only get around in a wheelchair.

"I am worried about the repercussions that Miguel may have on his health as a result of the hunger strike, and above all, I am worried about Miguelito because the emotional damage he is suffering is devastating," she added.

Ortega impedes the entry of Guatemalan journalist and anthropologist.

The Guatemalan anthropologist, writer, and journalist Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj was retained on Sunday, July 24 by immigration agents in the international airport of Nicaragua, as she was arriving to attend an academic event in Managua.

Velásquez Nimatuj denounced the episode at the moment she was retained. “I came to Managua for a meeting and as I was getting off the airplane they detained me and took everything away from me. I was left with only a telephone. An agent of the government stopped me and took everything.” She added that she was stopped in an office at the airport before being deported from the country. She was not told the reason for this.

In denouncing the retention and expulsion of Velásquez, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, issued "a call to the authorities of the Nicaraguan government to stop arbitrary detentions and harassment of people who are participating actively in public life".

**From other sources**

A Catholic priest is jailed, the second in two months.

The priest José Leonardo Urbina, who was pastor of Perpetual Help Church and an episcopal vicar of Boaco (in the center of the country) was jailed and tried on July 14 for the alleged crime of rape of an adolescent.

Urbina was detained by police after they received denunciations by relatives of the minor. A local judge handed down the maximum sentence (30 years in jail) against the priest, while parishioners of the area declared his innocence and said it was a setup as part of the Ortega regime's campaign of persecution against the Catholic Church.

This is the second Catholic cleric who has been jailed in the past two months. On June 24 Manuel Salvador García, a priest of the parish of Calvary church, in Nandaime, (in the south) was arrested and tried in a case which was full of irregularities and contradictory testimony, accused of “armed threats” against five Sandinist activists of that area, who had previously thrown rocks at the church.

Urnas Abiertas denounces an increment in political violence.

At least 385 occasions of political violence have been registered in Nicaragua during the first semester of this year, according to an analysis presented on July 26 by the civilian electoral observatory Urnas Abiertas.

The document refers to denunciations received from January 1 to June 30 of this year. The cases come from all departments and autonomous regions of the country, and from 52 of the 153 counties (33.98%). Only three of these cases happened outside Nicaragua “but under the repressive structure coordinated by the governor,” it indicated.

According to the observatory, 5 out of 10 cases reported refer to harassment and the rest are categorized as judicial persecution (42), administrative measures (40), aggression (37), torture and mistreatment (31), detention (24), death and other (10).

Link to the full document by Urnas Abiertas:

Translation, Lucina Kathmann, Vicepresident of PEN International.

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