The European Union (EU) condemned this Thursday the “arbitrary closure” of Catholic radio stations and other community media in Nicaraguaas well as the use of “excessive police force” to occupy the facilities.
“The European Union condemns the arbitrary closure of seven Catholic radio stations by the Nicaraguan authorities on August 1, and of two other community radio and television stations shortly thereafter,” the EU said in a statement released by its office. in Managua.
The regime of Daniel Ortega ordered last Monday the closure of eight Catholic stationsin the midst of friction between the Executive and the Catholic Church.
“This constitutes another violation of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief”continued the EU, after warning that “excessive police force was used to occupy the premises and to intimidate and disperse unarmed protesters with tear gas and gunfire.”
The closed stations are Radio Hermanos, Radio Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, Radio Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Radio Alliens, Radio Monte Carmelo, Radio San José, Radio Católica de Sébaco and Radio Santa Lucíaadministered by the Diocese of Matagalpa (north), led by Bishop Rolando Álvarez, a strong critic of President Ortega.
The licenses of the private radio station Radio Vos, a community and feminist radio station, in the department (province) of Matagalpa, were also cancelled, and the television channel RB 3 “El Canal de la Zona Láctea” was taken off the air, in the same locality. , according to Telcor, because it did not have its authorization to operate.
The EU recalled that “since 2018, The Nicaraguan government has unleashed unprecedented levels of violence against its own people, resorting to assassinations, enforced disappearances, imprisonment, harassment, and intimidation against political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders, religious leaders, and other leaders.”.
“Nowadays, Nicaragua has more than 180 political prisonersimprisoned without respect for the Nicaraguan Constitution, criminal law and due process,” he added.
Likewise, the agency highlighted the closure of “more than 1,200 civil society organizations, without adequate justification” so far in 2022.
“As a result, thousands of Nicaraguans from the most vulnerable sectors have been left without assistance”, he alerted.
The EU urged the Nicaraguan authorities to cease “all repression and restore full respect for all human rights”, and made an “urgent call on the Nicaraguan Government to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners and annul all legal proceedings against them, including their convictions.”
The EU has applied sanctions to relatives of Ortega, including his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, and several of his children, as well as regime officials accused of human rights violations.
Since April 2018 Nicaragua is experiencing a sociopolitical crisis that, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), left at least 355 deadof which Ortega, who described them as an attempted coup, has recognized 200.
This crisis worsened in the general elections last November when Ortega and Murillo were re-elected to their positions, with seven of their potential rivals in prison and two in exile.
(With information from EFE)
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