14 February 2008

IAPA renews call for release of jailed Cuban journalists


IAPA renews call for release of jailed Cuban journalists

MIAMI, Florida (February 15, 2008)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) renewed its public call on the Cuban government to release all imprisoned independent journalists today after learning that two reporters behind bars since 2003 had been freed.

According to the online edition of the Spanish newspaper El País, Cuban authorities today released seven Cuban dissidents because of their failing health, among them independent journalists Alejandro González Raga and José Gabriel Ramón Castillo who were flown to Spain to undergo medical treatment. González Raga had been sentenced to 14 years in prison and Ramón Castillo to 20 years.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, welcomed the move, but added, “Another 25 independent journalists are still serving unjust prison sentences, many of them suffering from ill health. We call for the unconditional release of all imprisoned journalists.”

González Raga, of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL in its Spanish-language acronym), and Ramón Castillo, of the Culture and Democracy Independent Institute (IICD), were arrested in March 2003 following a violent wave of repression that resulted in the imprisonment of 75 alleged dissidents.

Journalists who remain behind bars for working as independent reporters are: Ricardo González Alfonso, Víctor Rolando Arroyo, Normando Hernández González, Julio César Gálvez, Adolfo Fernández Sainz, Omar Rodríguez Saludes, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Mijaíl Barzaga Lugo, Pedro Argüelles Morán, Pablo Pacheco Ávila, Alfredo Pulido López, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Iván Hernández Carrillo, José Luis García Paneque, Juan Carlos Herrera, Miguel Galván Gutiérrez, José Ubaldo Izquierdo, Omar Ruiz Hernández, Léster Luis González Pentón, Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Alberto Gil Triay, Guillermo Espinosa Rodríguez, Raymundo Perdigón Brito, Ramón Velázquez Toranso and Oscar Sánchez Madan