14 February 2011

IAPA calls for unconditional release of imprisoned Cuban journalists

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Miami (February 14, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today welcomed the release from prison of independent Cuban journalist Héctor Maseda and urged the island’s government to immediately and unconditionally free those still behind bars.
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Miami (February 14, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today welcomed the release from prison of independent Cuban journalist Héctor Maseda and urged the island’s government to immediately and unconditionally free those still behind bars. 

Maseda, of the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, refused to accept his release if it included exile. An independent journalist and political dissident, he was paroled on Saturday while serving a 20-year prison term following his arrest in March 2003. 

IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín declared, “It is time that the government of Cuba stops manipulating political prisoners’ dreams of release and violating even the most nominal principles of freedom of the press and of assembly.” 

Since July last year and following talks by the Cuban authorities with the Roman Catholic Church and the Spanish government a total of 20 journalists have been freed from prison; their release required that the majority leave their homeland and go to Spain. 

Maseda was a member of the group of 75 dissidents, among them several independent journalists, convicted and sent to prison following summary proceedings in the wake of a wave of repression known as the “black spring” in March 2003. The president of the Democratic Liberal Party as well, he repeatedly said that he would accept release from prison only if granted a full and unconditional pardon. 

Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, called for “the immediate release from prison of those still behind bars,” mentioning Pedro Argüelles Morán, Iván Hernández Carrillo, Alberto Gil Triay and Alberto Santiago Du Bouchet, serving 3- to 25-year terms. He also demanded that a sentence of supervised movement imposed on journalist Raymundo Perdigón Toranso be overturned. 

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.

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