Amanda Lopez and her husband Angel Gahona returned from exile despite considering Nicaragua unsafe.
By EFE (Confidencial)
HAVANA TIMES – The parents of Angel Eduardo Gahona Lopez, the Nicaraguan journalist murdered at the beginning of the crisis which began in Nicaragua in April of 2018, returned this Friday after 18 months in exile, to demand justice for the death of their son.
Angel Gahona Ramos and Amanda Lopez, who have been living in exile in Costa Rica, stated during a press conference that the decision to return was personal, despite, in their opinion, the lack of safety.
“We want to return to demand justice, and to continue our religious work in Bluefields,” the municipal capital of the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS in Spanish), “and in all of Nicaragua,” said the father of the slain journalist.
“What do not seek vengeance, but justice. We want Nicaragua to know that justice is on their side, to know that people can move about freely and live with dignity,” he added.
Angel Gahona hopes he won’t go to “his grave not knowing the truth” about the murder of his son.
Mourning in peace and tranquility
The mother of Angel Gahona stated that their return to Nicaragua was a “personal decision”, taken “in the moment in which God indicated to us it was time to end our days in exile (in Costa Rica).
Amanda Lopez explained that they had gone into exile not because they had caused any problems in Nicaragua, “but rather to spend time mourning in peace and tranquility”; and now they have returned with the hope “that we will have justice and peace in our country”.
During the same press conference, human rights activist, Marling Sierra, of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), stated that the couple had returned to Nicaragua despite the lack of judicial security and that the same risks exist although perhaps not as apparent.
“The desire to fight for justice so that Angel Gahona’s murder doesn’t go unpunished has motivated his parents to return and continue the struggle,” she added.
Mothers of victims and Cenidh
Cenidh, together with the Association of the Mothers of April are carrying out the necessary measures to ensure that the search for justice for this case continues within the framework of the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights.
Journalist Angel Gahona was murdered on April 21, 2018, three days after protests broke out against the government of Daniel Ortega after unpopular social security reforms.
The journalist was shot in the head while reporting live on maneuvers by the Nicaraguan police to confront a demonstration that was part of anti-government protests. The protests, and the government’s response to them, resulted in a crisis which has left more than 300 dead, according to international organizations.
The Nicaraguan justice system condemned two Afro-descendant youths, Brandon Cristofer Lovo Tayler and Glen Abraham Slate, for the murder, sentencing them to 23 and 12 years in prison, respectively. The sentence was rejected by the (Gahona) family, who accused the police of the murder. The youths were granted amnesty in mid-2019.
The widow of the murdered reporter, journalist Migueliuth Sandoval, who now lives in exile in the United States following threats received from police and Ortega followers, said that a Bluefields riot police officer “took the life” of her husband, and that officer’s superior, Manuel Valle Corea “has much involvement in the case”.