8 June 2005


Journalist receives death threat from ex-paramilitary leader

Incident details

Heberto Jarquín Manzanares


death threat

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(RSF/IFEX) - On 22 May 2005, Heberto Jarquín Manzanares, a reporter for the daily "La Prensa", in the autonomous eastern region of Atlántico Norte, received a death threat from Evaristo Rivas Sánchez, ex-commander of the Frente Unido Andrés Castro, a now dissolved paramilitary organisation.

"This is not the first time that Jarquín has received such threats because of his articles. We call upon the Nicaraguan authorities to guarantee his security and arrest the people who want to murder him," said RSF.

According to the online edition of "La Prensa", on 22 May an individual approached Jarquín, who was working on a story at the Bosawa natural reserve in Atlántico Norte. "Be careful, this man (Evaristo Rivas Sánchez) is not safe. He's met with peasants and the conversation did not bode well for your future", he told the journalist, warning him that a price had been put on his head.

Jarquín immediately attributed the threats to his recent article alleging improper appropriation by Rivas of collectively held land. Rolando Cruz, general director of Notifax news agency and cofounder of the Nicaraguan Press Union (Sindicato Nicaragüense de Prensa), told RSF that the former paramilitary commander also has connections to the mafia ravaging stands of precious wood, that Jarquín has investigated several times.

Jarquín had previously received threats on two occasions from two traffickers in precious wood, nicknamed "El Chino León" and "El Gallo". The two traffickers were subsequently convicted but remain at large.

The journalist told his editors he fears for his family's and his life. He says that Rivas is armed and can easily hire hitmen.


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