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NUJ condemns deportation of freelance journalist from Nicaragua

3 October 2018

Serious concerns about the safety of journalists in Nicaragua have been expressed by the NUJ following the detention and deportation of an Austrian-American freelance journalist from the country.

Carl David Goette-Luciak, who has been reporting from the country for The Guardian and The Washington Post, was seized from his home in Managua on Monday, held in detention for five hours at the airport and then deported to San Salvador in El Salvador.

During his detention and interrogation he was accused of attending illegal protests, disseminating false information, threatened with torture and accused of being a CIA agent. His arrest came in the wake of online reports, smears and personal information, including his home address, being widely circulated.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The unfolding political upheaval in Nicaragua, which has led to the killings of citizens, including the deliberate targeting of journalists documenting protests, is clearly a legitimate public interest story. The shocking murder of Nicaraguan reporter Ángel Gahona, who was shot dead while reporting a protest in April, demonstrates the hostile environment that exists for journalists in Nicaragua right now.
“Unfounded accusations against journalists of being spies, agents and terrorists are tactics used by repressive regimes throughout the world. Online smear campaigns designed to add to that pressure clearly serve to increase the risk and danger to all journalists working in already difficult environments."

The International Federation of Journalists has also expressed its concern at this violation of freedom of expression and demanded a response from the authorities in Nicaragua about the expulsion of Goette-Luciak in an illegitimate and arbitrary manner.

Tags: , international, Nicaragua, journalists detained, ifj, journalist safety, journalist deported