Journalist in Nicaragua arrested for reporting on Holy Week

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Organizations defending freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Nicaragua are demanding the release of Víctor Ticay, a Nicaraguan journalist who was arrested by the dictatorship on Holy Thursday after posting about a Holy Week event on social media.

On April 7, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded the immediate release of Ticay and an end to the arrest of members of the press for doing their jobs.

According to multiple media reports, the police in the city of Nandaime in southwestern Nicaragua arrested the reporter from local TV station Channel 10 on Holy Thursday morning, April 6.

Ticay was detained after livestreaming on April 5 a religious activity on the Facebook page of La Portada, a local news site that he directs.

According to the website Alertas Libertad de Prensa Nicaragua (Freedom of the Press Alerts Nicaragua), after his arrest the video was deleted from the page.

Ticay’s arrest took place in the context of the dictatorship’s decision to prohibit processions and religious activities on the streets. According to a recent report, more than 3,000 Holy Week processions were banned in 2023.

After the journalist was taken into custody, various media outlets reported that he was transferred to the prison known as “El Chipote,” where the dictatorship now holds several Catholics, including priests.

Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ programs director, said that “the authorities must immediately release journalist Víctor Ticay and end its relentless campaign of intimidation and threats against the press in order to force it into silence or exile.”

“The Nicaraguan government has once again demonstrated its lack of respect for the right to freedom of speech in the midst of an absurd climate of total censorship, which even extends to religious activities,” he added.

The Independent Journalists and Newscasters of Nicaragua association also condemned the arrest, calling it “arbitrary and illegal.” The group called for the “immediate release” of the journalist.

The association said in an April 8 statement that it demands “the right to inform and freedom of the press, while demanding that the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo put an end to violence against men and women journalists and its policy of official censorship that prevails in the country.”

CPJ reported it sent an email to the Nicaraguan police but has not received a response.

According to a report released on Good Friday by the nongovernmental organization Blue and White Monitoring (the colors of the Nicaraguan flag), at least 15 Nicaraguans, mostly opponents of the regime and faithful Catholics, including Ticay, were arrested by the police during Holy Week in the country.

One of those arrested was Father Donaciano Alarcón, whom the dictatorship expelled from the country on Monday of Holy Week. The authorities seized him, took him to the border with Honduras, and abandoned him there.

Blue and White Monitoring said that between April 1 and April 6, at least 35 incidents related to human rights violations were recorded in nine administrative districts of the country.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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