Nicaragua editor detained in latest move seen to target president's critics

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 15 2021 08:48 AM

This file photo taken on April 16, 2020 shows local newspaper La Prensa printed April 15, 2020, after Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega spoke of the coronavirus pandemic and announced there would be no quarantine or cessation of economic activity. Police in Nicaragua on August 13, 2021 raided the premises of the independent newspaper, which had branded the government a
This file photo taken on April 16, 2020 shows local newspaper La Prensa printed April 15, 2020, after Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega spoke of the coronavirus pandemic and announced there would be no quarantine or cessation of economic activity. Police in Nicaragua on August 13, 2021 raided the premises of the independent newspaper, which had branded the government a "dictatorship" after being forced to suspend its print edition. Inti Ocon, AFP

MANAGUA - A top editor of Nicaraguan daily La Prensa was jailed Saturday after police raided the newspaper, making him the latest of dozens of critics of President Daniel Ortega to face arrest.

Juan Lorenzo Holmann was taken to a Managua jail, allegedly to sign documents, his cousin and fellow journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro said on Twitter. 

Hours later, police confirmed Holmann's arrest, saying in a statement that he was being investigated for customs fraud and money laundering. 

They said the case was being turned over to authorities "for prosecution and to determine criminal responsibilities."

With presidential elections now three months away, Holmann's arrest brought to 33 the number of Ortega opponents in detention.

They include La Prensa's vice president Cristiana Chamorro, whose family owns the paper. She is one of seven presidential hopefuls now being held.

Ortega, a 75-year-old former guerilla, first took office in 2007 as part of the left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front. He is now seeking a fourth term. 

His government faces sanctions from the United States and the European Union, which accuse him of humans rights violations and the repression of opposition figures.

Ortega, in turn, has accused the opposition of trying to overthrow him with US support.

Holmann's arrest came a day after he announced the suspension of the paper's print edition, blaming customs authorities for refusing to release imported newsprint, a charge the government denies. 

La Prensa is continuing to provide a digital edition. It is Nicaragua's only nationally circulated newspaper.

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© Agence France-Presse

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