Nicaragua: Dictatorship Stages “Express Justice” against Journalist Miguel Mora

The installations fo 100% Noticias, which remain closed and occupied by the Police. Photo: EFE / Confidencial

 

They sealed the TV channel building with sheets of zinc and froze bank accounts.

Director of 100% Noticias was presented in the criminal courts of Managua twelve hours after being kidnapped, accused of “inciting hate”.

 

By Keyling T. Romero  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Twelve hours after he was kidnapped and the sudden closure of his television channel, the Director of “100% Noticias”, Miguel Mora, was presented by the National Police in a Managua courtroom. He is facing an “express” legal process in which he is accused of “fomenting hate and violence,” actions that are “framed in the penal category of: provocation, proposition and conspiracy to commit terrorist’s acts.” He was denied the minimum defense guarantees and the entrance of human rights defenders to the Judicial Complex was prohibited.”

Furthermore, almost 24 hours after the assault on the news channel, the journalist and news bureau chief, Lucia Pineda Ubau, is still missing, after being kidnapped along with Mora, when the Police and paramilitary groups stormed the media outlet on Friday night.

Only the journalist and wife of Mora, Veronica Chavez, was released Friday evening, and denounced on Saturday morning the arbitrary judicial process against her husband, for which she holds responsible the Government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

The order to arrest of Mora was issued this Friday, at around 5:30 in the afternoon at the Sixth Court, in the capital. The warrant, additionally, includes a search order for his house or building, freezing all his bank accounts and the “temporary closure” of the TV channel.

Miguel Mora, Director of 100% Noticias, was presented in the courtrooms of Managua, twelve hours after his kidnapping.

According to the indictment, the alleged crime of “fomenting hate and violence” are an “apology and inducement to terrorism.” Precisely, under different accusations of terrorism, more than 565 Nicaraguans remain as political prisoners of the regime in the country’s prisons, waiting for a flawed trial or a sentence without appeal.

The crimes imputed to Mora are based on denunciations made during recent weeks by relatives of government supporters killed during the protests. However, it has been become known that some of these complaints were filed because the Government paid them to do so, according to the statement given to 100% Noticias, by a journalist from Carazo, Gema Serrano, who also said she is “ashamed that her father had denounced Miguel Mora.”

The Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH in Spanish) has assured that the process against Mora is anomalous. The organization explained that on Friday, around 4:00 in the afternoon, the Prosecutor’s Office filed the complaint, and the judge with an inexplicable speed issued a warrant against Mora.

In addition, the CPDH notes that the police raid is illegal, because in accordance to the Criminal Code of Nicaragua this must be done between six in the morning and six in the afternoon. Therefore, what occurred at 100% Noticias is an assault perpetrated by the Police, only eight days after the assault and takeover of the facilities of the private media Confidencial and Esta Semana, for which the authorities still do not respond.

Transfer to El Chipote

Three hours after the court order against Miguel Mora was issued, TELCOR ordered the cable operators to cancel the transmission of 100% Noticias and at around 9:00 pm, several police and paramilitaries entered the building to carry out their mission, denounced Veronica Chavez, wife of Mora and who was also arrested in the same operation, and released a few hours later.

Chavez said that when the officers entered the building, they immediately dismantled the control master and proceeded to take away her husband in a pick-up truck. She and Lucia Pineda Ubau were also transferred to the El Chipote interrogation jail, and were then separated for interrogation, but she did not see Lucia again.

“I am denouncing the Government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo because they are the ones who ordered this to be done. They had threatened Miguel,” says Chavez, during a press conference.

“Mora was also taken to El Chipote. There, a policeman took away his glasses and hit him in the face, causing him a bruise, they stripped him naked and put him in a small cell, afterwards they moved him to another cell with four other people,” explained the lawyer Arnulfo Lopez, from the CPDH.

They also denounced that in the courts the prevented the CPDH’s lawyer, Julio Montenegro, from representing Miguel Mora. He was not allowed to enter the judicial complex.

The initial hearing against Miguel Mora was scheduled for January 25, 2019, at 8:00 am.

Lucia Pineda is missing

In the meantime, the Government of Costa Rica announced an investigation through its consulate in Nicaragua, on the case of Lucia Pineda, who also has Costa Rican nationality, and since her arrest yesterday her whereabouts are unknown.

Weeks ago, the Government expelled from the country the feminist and human rights defender, Ana Quiros, Director of the Center for Information and Health Advisory Services (CISAS), under the official claim that she could not have both nationalities.

Although the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry has already activated its mechanisms and protocols for the protection of its nationals, in the face of the arrest of Pineda Ubau, the authorities of that country have not yet received any notice of deportation. The protection protocol includes the request to allow the visit of Costa Rican Consulate staff, to confirm, among other details, the health status of citizens.

Meanwhile, Jose Miguel Vivanco, Director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, condemned the capture of Miguel Mora on his twitter account, and assured that this is “another abuse of the dictatorship against freedom of expression.”

Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado also condemned the arrest on his social networks: “As president, and also as a journalist, I deplore the escalation of the repression and persecution of the press that Nicaragua experiences at these moments.”

I reiterate the concern of our Government for the serious deterioration of human rights in Nicaragua and I advocate full respect for the freedoms to all people,” Alvarado said.

The Costa Rican Consulate has asked the Government of Nicaragua for information on the detention, legal situation and health status of Pineda and also requested that a consular visit be authorized to ensure her physical integrity and due process.

The television channel 100% Noticias continued closed this Saturday, and remains occupied by the Police, after the state Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (TELCOR), the regulatory agency, ordered television operators by subscription to remove from their menu the channel 100% Noticias, starting at 9:00 pm local time on Friday.

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