London 12 June 2019 – The release of 56 political prisoners, among them journalists Lucía Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora, is a welcome step, said PEN International today as it maintained that the journalists should never have been arrested. The journalists were released under a controversial new amnesty law, which permits the release of political prisoners whilst protecting those who committed violent acts against protesters from prosecution.
Lucía Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora, respectively the News Director and Director General of TV channel 100% Noticias, were detained on 21 December 2018 following a raid on their offices carried out by Nicaraguan police. According to PEN Nicaragua, Pineda Ubau and Mora were accused of "inciting violence and hate" and "promoting terrorism," in connection with the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression and their criticism of the Daniel Ortega government in the course of their work as journalists.
Held for over 150 days, the journalists were kept, for the most part, in near-isolation, with limited access to their family members, medical services and legal support.
“It is a great joy to see Lucía and Miguel free at last,” said Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International. “We celebrate this news together with Gioconda Belli and PEN Nicaragua. Let us hope that their release is a sign that the government has understood that it cannot place undue restrictions on the freedom of expression of journalists.”
PEN International welcomes the release of the journalists and reiterates its calls
on the Nicaraguan authorities to respect journalists’ and opponents’
right to the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression.