Accessibility links

Breaking News

Staff of Nicaragua's La Prensa Newspaper Flee Abroad

FILE - La Prensa headquarters in Managua, Nicaragua, Feb. 7, 2020.
FILE - La Prensa headquarters in Managua, Nicaragua, Feb. 7, 2020.

A Nicaraguan newspaper critical of President Daniel Ortega's government said Thursday that its journalists, photographers and other staff have left the country for fear of being jailed.

They will continue publishing the digital version of the paper from exile, the La Prensa daily announced in its latest edition.

"The persecution that the government of Daniel Ortega has directed against the staff of La Prensa has obliged staff to flee the country," it said.

"Journalists, editors, photographers and other staff were forced to leave Nicaragua ... in the last two weeks to protect their safety and freedom."

The newspaper, at 95, is the oldest in Nicaragua.

La Prensa said two of its drivers were arrested earlier this month and placed in preventive detention for 90 days on unspecified charges.

This came after raids on the homes of several of the paper's journalists and photographers.

"This situation forced La Prensa to put its staff under guard and then take them out of the country," it said.

The newspaper's editor, Juan Lorenzo Holmann, was arrested in August last year, a day after police raided the newspaper's offices. Since then, it has been online only.

Holmann is serving a nine-year sentence after being found guilty of money laundering, which his supporters claim is a trumped-up charge.

The raid on La Prensa came as part of a clampdown on government opponents that saw dozens arrested, including seven would-be presidential candidates in November elections in which Ortega won a much-criticized fourth consecutive term.

Ortega's government accuses his detained critics of conspiring against it with backing from the United States.

Earlier this week, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists called for the liberation of all jailed media personnel.