In the early morning hours of Monday, April 19, National Police agents made an attempt on the life of reporter Kalua Salazar and prevented her from leaving her home to go to her workplace at Radio Costeñísima.
The journalist and human rights defender has reported that when she was about to go to work, she found that a heavy contingent of agents had lain siege to the house, blocking the road in vehicles with flashing lights. She was then attacked by one of the agents, who beat her and even tried to strangle her in the presence of her mother and children. A woman police agent finally intervened to defend her from the beating. The aggressor then tried to take Kalua´s cell phone that she had used to record the attack. A second police truck drove up and several agents got out. With an intimidating attitude, one of them began to tape the journalist at the doorway to her home.
As seen in the video taken by Kalua, the siege went on for several minutes, during which time the agents displayed a threatening attitude as they brandished high caliber arms. Before withdrawing, they seized the vehicle that the journalist and her family use to get around town and go to work.
Kalua Salazar had previously been the victim of criminalization after publishing information about a case of corruption against the municipal government of El Rama on August 4, 20201, and we have recently voiced our concern over the systematic, repeated presence of armed agents near her home . 2
This serious attack took place in the context of the commemoration of the anniversary of the social uprising of April 18, 2018. We of IM-Defensoras have observed an alarming rise in the number and gravity of attacks against women human rights defenders in Nicaragua as a strategy for repressing any expression whatsoever of dissidence, protest, or commemoration of the uprising. We have registered the fact that between April 14 and 17 of this year, 75 women defenders and their families have been victims of harassment, blocked from leaving their homes, and/or systematically bullied while travelling.
We of IM-Defensoras condemn this serious attack on the life of the journalist Kalua Salazar, and on the besiegement, intimidation, and constant threats that she and her family are experiencing. We demand an immediate end to these attacks and hold the Nicaraguan government responsible for any violation whatsoever of the integrity of Kalua Salazar and her family.
We reiterate our call to the international community to stay alert to what is going on in Nicaragua, especially in the context of the commemoration of the social uprising of 2018, and to extend solidarity to the organizations, social movements, activists and human rights defenders that are raising their voices against authoritarian abuses and systematic human rights violations committed by the government.