Saturday, January 19, 2008

RSF on Imprisoned Cuban Journalists

There's nothing I can add to this press release from Reporters Sans Frontieres:

Reporters Without Borders today reiterated its call for the release of 24 detained Cuban journalists as the population prepared to vote - but not choose, as there is no choice - its representatives in national and provincial assembly elections to be held on 20 January.

In a news conference yesterday in Madrid, the press freedom organisation voiced concern about the especially alarming situation of some of the journalists held since the “Black Spring” crackdown of 18 March 2003. One of the victims of that crackdown who is now an exile in Spain, Cuba Press agency found Raúl Rivero, described the current plight of four of these journalists who are seriously ill.

The four are Normando Hernández González, the director of the Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey (CPIC), José Luis García Paneque, the director of Libertad, a small independent news agency, and Adolfo Fernández Sainz and Ivan Hernández Carrillo of Patria, another independent news agency.

“The state of health of these four journalists, as indeed the situation of all the dissident journalists jailed in Cuba, justifies at the very least the suspension of their sentences and their release on humanitarian grounds,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If the government agreed to this, it would show a minimal respect of human rights, in which there has been no progress since Fidel Castro handed over to his brother in July 2006.”

The organisation added: “The 20 January elections should not raise any hopes. Political pluralism is not on the agenda and the only candidates that Cubans will be able to vote for are the already-designated 614 representatives of the Communist Party of Cuba, the only political party that is permitted.”


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