Nicaraguan journalist Victor Ticay was arrested in April 2023 and later convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison anti-state and false news charges.
Ticay, a freelance reporter for the privately owned television broadcaster Canal 10, has over seven years of experience as a local journalist. He began his career working on his Facebook page, La Portada, which became known as one of the most trusted local information sources in the southwestern city of Nandaime.
Arrest & Detention
Police arrested Ticay in Nandaime on April 6, 2023, the day after he posted a video of an Easter celebration on La Portada. Earlier in April, the Nicaraguan government banned Roman Catholic street processions marking Holy Week.
On Friday, June 9, a judge in the capital city of Managua convicted Ticay, on charges of undermining national integrity and disseminating false news and transferred him to the Jorge Navarro Prison, known as “La Modelo.” Ticay pleaded innocent, Jose Cardoza, a representative from the Periodista y Comunicadores Independientes de Nicaragua (Independent Journalists and Communicators of Nicaragua) journalists’ union, told CPJ by phone in October 2023.
The charges against Ticay fit a pattern of legal harassment, intimidation, and criminal charges against independent journalists in Nicaragua.
Authorities did not grant Ticay access to private lawyers, and he was forced to accept a public defender, according to Cardoza, who cited an unnamed Nicaraguan government source.
Cardoza said prosecutors identified the Facebook Live video of the Easter celebration as the only evidence against Ticay to support the treason and false news charges. CPJ reviewed the page in April 2023 after Ticay’s arrest and found that the video had been removed, but another review in October 2023 showed the video as the last post.
At a closed-door hearing on August 15, 2023, Ticay was sentenced to five years in prison for the treason charge and three years in prison for the false news charge, Cardoza said.
Cardoza said Ticay’s family has been able to visit him, he did not know the duration and frequency of those visits. Ticay has not reported any health issues to his family or prison authorities, but he mentioned the food is scarce and in poor condition, Cardoza added.
CPJ emailed the Nicaraguan National Police and called the prosecutor’s office in September 2023, but did not receive any response.