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Dissident journalist arrested in Holguín as freedom to inform is stalled

Dissident journalist arrested in Holguín as freedom to inform is stalled
Published on 1 February 2010

Cuba's National Revolutionary Police (PNR) arrested Juan Carlos Reyes
Ocaña, journalist on the small news agency Holguín Press on 29 January
then took him to a police barracks to face charges of "insult",
"disobedience" and "illegal economic activity".

He was released the following day, but has started a hunger strike as he
awaits his trial which could mean a prison sentence.

The regime continues to harass bloggers, deal out unfair detentions and
ill-treat prisoners of opinion as it refuses to tolerate any news
outside its control. Cautious improvements introduced since Raúl Castro
assumed the presidency in February 2008 stall when it comes to human rights.

Havana has never ratified as it promised the UN Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, that includes free expression, which was signed at the
official handover of power two years ago. Normalisation of relations
with Cuba promoted by the Spanish presidency of the European Union
should not be at the price of skating over fundamental freedoms.

There has been no humanitarian gesture towards journalists arrested
during the "black spring" of March 2003, including Ricardo González
Alfonso, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Reporters Without
Borders' correspondent and founder of the magazine De Cuba, has health
problems, particularly lung disease, received treatment only on 26
January after a wait of one month. Despite his poor health, he is still
being held in a cell in Combinado del Este prison in Havana.

Another "black spring" prisoner who was also sentenced to 20 years in
prison, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, of the Agencia de Prensa Libre
Oriental (APLO) news agency, recently spoke out against the
ill-treatment and deprivation of food suffered by himself and his fellow
prisoners (see the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U—…). Doctor
and contributor to dissident media, Darsi Ferrer, who has been in jail
for six months, was handcuffed and beaten up in his cell.

Bloggers and Internet users are also targeted for repression. Two
students were expelled last month for carrying out "unauthorised"
journalistic work. Darío Alejandro Paulino Escobar was excluded from
Havana University for creating a page on social networking site
Facebook, containing the minutes of a meeting of the Young Communists'
Union (UJC) (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v…). The daughter of
political prisoner, Félix Navarro, Saylí Navarro was expelled from
Matanzas University for her work as a freelance journalist.

State security police on 6 November 2009 brutally assaulted bloggers
Yoani Sánchez, creator of the Generación Y platform
(http://www.desdecuba.com/generaciony/), and Orlando Luis Pardo, on the
eve of a demonstration. A third blogger, Luis Felipe Rojas, was arrested
twice in December and placed under house arrest.

Reporters Sans Frontières – Dissident journalist arrested in Holguín as
freedom to inform is stalled (1 February 2010)
http://www.rsf.org/Dissident-journalist-arrested-in.html

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