Nicaraguan police beat journalists (Dec. 17, 2018)
Nicaraguan police beat at least seven journalists with batons on Saturday. The victims included Carlos Fernando Chamorro, one of the country's best known journalists and editor of Confidencial, a newspaper critical of the government. Journalists had gathered outside the Managua police headquarters to demand information about the confiscation of the newspaper's headquarters and material. Reuters reports that journalists were attacked by baton-wielding police, chased, and threatened with confiscation of cell phones and equipment. The group included journalists from Confidencial, Esta Semana, and other independent outlets, at least four were badly hurt, reports Artículo 66.
Chamorro denounced that Confidencial's offices were occupied by security forces who refused to let him in. (Confidencial and Associated Press) "They have taken our newsroom … They are physically closing down our offices by taking them militarily," Chamorro told the Guardian.
The move comes after they were raided last week, along with the offices of several organizations of civil society. On Friday, Nicaraguan authorities said they seized the assets of 10 blacklisted organizations, including that of Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), one of the country's most prominent human rights groups, reports Reuters. (See last Friday's post, and Thursday's.)
No papers have yet been presented to justify the occupation, reports Confidencial.
The attacks against rights groups and el Confidencial represent a deepening Nicaragua's "state of exception," according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (Confidencial) The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on the Ortega administration to cease aggressions against organizations of civil society and independent media. (Artículo 66)
José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s Americas director, said that by attacking such well-known organisations Nicaragua’s president was making clear his intention "to rule by terror and intimidation." (Guardian)
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