The press condemns the theft of installations and equipment

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MEXICO CITY (Associated Press) — The Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa, one of the oldest in the country and detained by police for a year, condemned Monday that operators of Daniel Ortega’s government are removing equipment and machinery from their facilities. , where “construction work” is also carried out.

“Ortega Murillo’s regime is trying to destroy the 96-year history of national journalism on the campus where he was detained,” said an article in the newspaper. March 13. August 2021. “What will become of your facilities? He was thinking.

Consulted by the Associated Press, the editor of La Prensa, Eduardo Enriquez, said that in recent days government employees entered the premises of the newspaper and removed machines, according to witnesses who passed by the building. Which is located in the northern sector. Capital, Managua

Enriquez does not know how much equipment or machinery was stolen from the newspaper’s headquarters, where only heavily armed police live. They also received reports of an alleged renovation of the campus, which houses the most modern and best-equipped La Prensa newspaper and printing press in the country.

“We are not surprised that they are committing this theft of facilities and equipment,” Enriquez said. The same has happened with other independent outlets such as Confidential Publications and 100% Notice Channel, whose buildings were occupied by police in 2018 and later awarded to government entities, he said.

“And I call that theft, not even confiscation, because confiscation is prohibited by the Constitution,” the journalist said. According to Article 44 of the Magna Carta of Nicaragua, the state guarantees private property and does not allow confiscation.

The Associated Press attempted to get government confirmation on this, but the request was not immediately returned.

Enriquez recalled that a month earlier, the entire editorial staff of La Prensa had been forced out of Nicaragua due to police harassment and searches of the homes of the paper’s last journalists and photographers in the country.

According to the Nicaraguan Independent Journalists and Communicators (PCIN), at least 150 communicators have been expelled due to pressure or threats since 2018. Six other journalists, including La Prensa director Juan Lorenzo Hallman, have been imprisoned for more than a year. year. , and the former director of 100% Noticias, Miguel Mora.

According to Enriquez, in recent weeks the government has intensified its pressure on the free press and the Catholic Church, two of the few key sectors present in Nicaragua, following the imprisonment of opposition leaders, student leaders, businessmen and activists.

At least three television channels and nine radio stations, mostly affiliated with the Catholic Church, were shut down last month. This year, more than 1,000 NGOs have been closed due to the executive decision.

The editor of La Prensa said that the Sandinistas “have eliminated not only the opposition, but any entity that can express an independent opinion”.

Enriquez acknowledged that expressions of opposition on social media are only “an outlet for one or another citizen, out of anonymity…they have made a reign of terror”.

Regarding La Prensa, he said his journalists were reorganized in exile, from where they would continue to work. “They are not able to silence us,” he insisted.

Human rights organizations say Nicaragua has been facing a serious political crisis since the government forcefully suppressed a social uprising in April 2018 that left 355 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and at least 100,000 deported. The opposition, for its part, assures that there are around 190 “political prisoners” in different prisons in the country.

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