AFP protests Nicaragua expulsion of photojournalist

Agence France-Presse sent a formal letter of protest to the Nicaraguan government on Monday following the arrest and subsequent expulsion of a Chilean photojournalist at the weekend.

  • Published: 14/05/2013 at 02:49 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Chilean AFP photographer Hector Retamal (L) walks upon arrival from Nicaragua, in San Jose, Costa Rica on May 11, 2013. AFP sent a formal letter of protest to the Nicaraguan government following his arrest and expulsion.

AFP photographer Hector Retamal, 37, was deported to Costa Rica on Saturday after being detained for four days without charge following his arrest near the presidential residence in Managua on Tuesday last week.

Retamal had been on his way to cover the meeting of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki when he was detained.

In a letter addressed to government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo, who also is Ortega's wife, AFP Latin America director Juliette Hollier-Larousse protested Retamal's treatment in the strongest terms.

"On behalf of AFP, I must strongly protest against his detention for four days, the conditions of his detention -- four days without the ability to communicate with the outside world or any legal assistance -- and his subsequent expulsion, without any official explanation," the letter said.

"I am outraged by the treatment given to our photographer, who was arrested during the normal performance of his work functions."

The letter emphasized that AFP remained committed to its core principles of reporting with objectivity and reliability, both in Nicaragua and the other 149 countries from which it reports.

Retamal said upon his arrival in Costa Rica on Saturday he had no inkling of why he had been arrested or held.

"I do not understand why I had so many days in solitary confinement for trying to take pictures of a meeting of the president," Retamal said. "These were very difficult, anxious days, not knowing what would happen to me."

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