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Annual Prison Census 2010 - Cuba

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 8 December 2010
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2010 - Cuba, 8 December 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4d4977e9c.html [accessed 21 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2010

Cuba: 4

Pedro Argüelles Morán, Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes
Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

The Cuban government freed 17 journalists arrested in the Black Spring crackdown of 2003, but four independent reporters and editors remained in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1.

Argüelles Morán was sentenced in April 2003 to 20 years in prison under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy, which punishes anyone who commits acts "aiming at subverting the internal order of the nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system."

Argüelles Morán, director of the independent news agency Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes in the central province of Ciego de Ávila, was being held at the Canaleta Prison in his home province, his wife, Yolanda Vera Nerey, told CPJ. She said her husband, 62, had bone and respiratory ailments and cataracts in both eyes.

In July 2010, the Catholic Church brokered an agreement with Cuban authorities to release 52 political prisoners arrested in the 2003 crackdown. Spanish government officials also participated in the talks. The Cuban government did not explicitly demand that freed prisoners leave the country as a condition of release, but it's clear that is what authorities wanted: All 17 of the reporters released as of December 1 were immediately exiled to Spain. (One later relocated to Chile.)

Three journalists swept up in the 2003 crackdown and a fourth arrested in 2009 remained in jail when CPJ conducted its December 1 census. The remaining detainees from the 2003 crackdown expressed their desire to stay in Cuba upon release, the reporters' families told CPJ. A story published in September by the Madrid-based daily El País quoted Spanish officials as saying that imprisoned reporters who wanted to stay in Cuba upon release would be freed through a parole program. The Cuban government, however, did not confirm those plans.

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, the detainee arrested in 2009, had not been offered release under any condition as of December 1, according to the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Iván Hernández Carrillo, Patria
Imprisoned: March 18, 2003

A reporter for the independent news agency Patria in the western city of Colón, Hernández Carrillo was sentenced in April 2003 to 25 years in prison under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy. Hernández Carrillo, 39, was subjected to harassment and assault while in prison, according to his mother, Asunción Carrillo, who said prison authorities had encouraged inmates to attack him.

Although the government released a number of political prisoners in 2010, Hernández Carrillo was among four Cuban journalists still in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1. Three had been swept up in the 2003 crackdown and a fourth was arrested in 2009.

In July 2010, the Catholic Church brokered an agreement with Cuban authorities to release 52 political prisoners, including 20 journalists, who were arrested during the 2003 crackdown. Spanish government officials also participated in the talks. The Cuban government did not explicitly demand that freed prisoners leave the country as a condition of release, but it's clear that is what authorities wanted: All 17 of the reporters released as of December 1 were immediately exiled to Spain. (One later relocated to Chile.)

The remaining detainees from the 2003 crackdown expressed their desire to stay in Cuba upon release, the reporters' families told CPJ. A story published in September by the Madrid-based daily El País quoted Spanish officials as saying that imprisoned reporters who wanted to stay in Cuba upon release would be freed through a parole program. The Cuban government, however, did not confirm those plans.

After July talks between the government and the Catholic Church, Hernández Carrillo was transferred from a prison in Santa Clara province, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) from his family's home in Matanzas province, to La Henequenera Prison in his home province, his mother told CPJ. He suffered from hypertension and gastritis.

Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro
Imprisoned: March 19, 2003

Maseda Gutiérrez was arrested in the March 2003 crackdown on dissidents and the independent press. He was charged under Article 91 of the Cuban penal code for acting "against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state" and Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba's National Independence and Economy. In a closed-door summary trial the following month, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

An engineer with a graduate degree in nuclear physics, Maseda Gutiérrez, 67, began working as an independent journalist in 1995 and was a founding member of the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, according to his wife, Laura Pollán Toledo. In 2008, he was awarded CPJ's International Press Freedom Award.

Although the government released a number of political prisoners in 2010, Maseda Gutiérrez was among four Cuban journalists still in prison when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1. Three had been swept up in the 2003 crackdown and a fourth was arrested in 2009.

In July 2010, the Catholic Church brokered an agreement with Cuban authorities to release 52 political prisoners, including 20 journalists, who were arrested during the 2003 crackdown. Spanish government officials also participated in the talks. The Cuban government did not explicitly demand that freed prisoners leave the country as a condition of release, but it's clear that is what authorities wanted: All 17 of the reporters released as of December 1 were immediately exiled to Spain. (One later relocated to Chile.)

The remaining detainees from the 2003 crackdown expressed their desire to stay in Cuba upon release, the reporters' families told CPJ. A story published in September by the Madrid-based daily El País quoted Spanish officials as saying that imprisoned reporters who wanted to stay in Cuba upon release would be freed through a parole program. The Cuban government, however, did not confirm those plans.

After July talks between the government and the Catholic Church, Maseda Gutiérrez was transferred from a prison in western Matanzas province, a four-hour bus ride from his home in Havana City, to the 15-80 Prison in Havana province, a one-hour ride from his home, his wife said. She said her husband suffered from high blood pressure and skin ailments.

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, Havana Press
Imprisoned: April 18, 2009

Police arrested Du Bouchet Hernández, director of the independent news agency Havana Press, as he was visiting relatives outside the city. Officers alleged that the journalist had shouted antigovernment slogans in the street.

In May 2009, Du Bouchet Hernández was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "disrespect" and distribution of enemy propaganda. Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, president of the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, told CPJ that the journalist had been in a summary proceeding without the assistance of a defense lawyer. Miriam Herrera, an independent journalist based in Havana, told CPJ that Du Bouchet Hernández had reported on social issues, which could have upset local authorities.

In 2010, Du Bouchet Hernández was being held at the Melena II Prison, in Havana province, his colleague Roberto De Jesús Guerra told CPJ. He faced appalling prison conditions, including poor food and overflowing wastewater, De Jesús Guerra said. Du Bouchet Hernández was subjected to beatings, but continued reporting from prison on jail conditions, prisoners' life stories, and human rights violations, CPJ research showed.

Du Bouchet Hernández was not included in a July 2010 agreement between the Cuban government and the Catholic Church to release 52 political prisoners swept up in the 2003 crackdown on dissidents and the independent press. As of December 1, he had not been offered his release under any conditions, according to the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Du Bouchet Hernández had also been jailed in 2005 on "disrespect" charges and sentenced to one year in prison after he enraged authorities with his coverage of a two-day gathering that brought together 200 opposition activists and guests to discuss ways to create democracy in Cuba. Du Bouchet Hernández was released in August 2006 after completing his sentence.

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