MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – Nicaraguan officials denied entry to a French cartoonist who had been scheduled to speak on a panel paying homage to the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, though the reason remained unclear Wednesday.
Cartoonist Julien Berjeaut said he had been scheduled to participate on a panel called "Humor against barbarity, homage to Charlie Hebdo and freedom of expression" on Tuesday evening at a conference in Managua. Instead, the event played a video from the cartoonist, known as Jul, in which he said the government apparently did not want him to attend.
Speaking by phone from El Salvador late Wednesday, Berjeaut said he had done freelance work for many outlets over the years, including Charlie Hebdo several years ago.
About 10 days ago he was informed that the Nicaraguan government would not allow him to enter the country if he arrived, he said. Berjeaut said he was not given a specific reason, but he did not believe it had anything to do with his work as a cartoonist or the panel he was scheduled to speak on.
The director of Nicaragua's immigration agency was not immediately available to comment. France's ambassador in Nicaragua, Antoine Joly, said he did not know why Berjeaut was barred.
In January, a terror attack in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people. The magazine had lampooned religions and used depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.