Widow and daughter of murdered Nicaraguan journalist receive political asylum in the U.S.

The widow and daughter of journalist Ángel Gahona, who was killed last year while covering protests in Nicaragua, received asylum from the United States, according to newspaper La Prensa.

Journalist Migueliut Sandoval and her daughter Amanda Migueliut Gahona Sandoval received political asylum on Dec. 4, 2018, and with this will receive medical assistance, financial assistance, employment services and legal assistance, among other benefits, the newspaper added.

Sandoval was part of a committee that traveled to Washington D.C. in mid-2018 to denounce the repression of the Nicaraguan government, and then started receiving threats. Through social networks, they said “I would lose my life if I continued to seek justice, if I continued to make statements or continued fighting for Nicaragua," Sandoval told La Prensa.

Journalist Ángel Gahona was shot dead on April 21, 2018 in Bluefields, northeastern Nicaragua, while broadcasting a protest via Facebook Live.

Four months later, two young men of African descent were found guilty of the murder of the journalist. The court decision raised an objection on the part of the journalist's family, who believed the shots were fired by police officers rather than demonstrators.

Sandoval traveled to Miami with her daughter on June 16. At the time, she told La Prensa, she was still not thinking about seeking political asylum.

"Although it is true at the beginning I did not come with that thinking (of asking for asylum), seeing that my life was at risk, as well as how the lives of other journalists have been at risk and have had to go into exile in other countries, I had to run with that same need to protect myself and my daughter,” Sandoval said.

The widow and daughter of the murdered journalist were the targets of different forms of intimidation, which prompted the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to grant them precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the family.

Political instability in Nicaragua and attacks on the press intensified in April 2018 after a wave of protests began against the pension reform proposed by the government of Daniel Ortega. Between April and October 2018, the Violeta Barrios Chamorro Foundation registered 420 cases of violation of press freedom in the country. The murder of Gahona is the most lethal case, yet recent attacks include the police takeover of the newsroom of Confidencial and the arrest of media executives from 100% Noticias.

These attacks led more than 200 international journalists to sign a denial letter condemning the attacks.