President’s security officers beat journalist at official event

December 19, 2007
Posted January 10, 2008

Jorge Loáisiga, La Prensa

Loáisiga, a reporter for the Managua-based daily La Prensa, was beaten and handcuffed by members of President Daniel Ortega’s security personnel while covering an official event in the Nicaraguan capital, according to local press reports.

On the evening of December 19, Loáisiga was covering the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health and the U.S. State Department to repair a local hospital, reported the Spanish news service EFE. Loáisiga told local reporters that he ran toward the U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, Paul Trivelli, to interview him at the end of the event, but was stopped by several men wearing blue shirts. The men, who didn’t identify themselves, beat the reporter, and took his tape-recorded before handcuffing him, according to Nicaraguan news reports. Loáisiga was then handed over to local police officers, who released him following protests by other journalists. Loáisiga told the local press that he received minor injuries to the neck.

Eduardo Enríquez, editorial director for La Prensa, said the daily asked local police to fully investigate the incident. At a press conference on December 20, Aminta Granera, chief of the national police, said members of Ortega’s security team detained Loáisiga after he breached a security perimeter. The reporter denied Granera’s claims, saying that he had been instructed by security personnel to walk over to where he was attacked, according to news reports.