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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Cuban journalist sentenced to 14 years in prison for alleged spying is the latest in a wave of detentions




The number of jailed journalists in Cuba has gone up since 2011, when the island disappeared from the Committee to Protect Journalists' census of incarcerated journalists. Recently, a reporter for the official newspaper Granma was sentenced to 14 years in prison and had his university degree suspended for espionage after reporting on the government's poor management of a construction project, according to the newspaper El Nuevo Herald.

José Antonio Torres, reporter in the city of Santiago de Cuba, was arrested in 2011 and tried in July of this year.

This latest sentence joins the arrests of 27 Cuban dissidents last Nov. 7, among them blogger Yoani Sánchez and journalist and lawyer Yaremis Flores, who were freed hours after their unwarranted detention, reported El Nuevo Herald.

Another jailed Cuban journalist declared a hunger strike on Wednesday, Nov. 14, to protest the conditions and over-population at the prison he was recently transfered to, according to the website Café Fuerte.

Journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, of the independent Hablemos Press, has been detained since Sept. 16, for reporting on a cholera epidemic. Cuban authorities accused him of "disrespect," which carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

The International Press Institute urged President Raúl Castro to consider reforming the defamation laws in Cuba to bring them into alignment with international standards and appealed for the release of journalists who had done nothing more than "report on subjects in the public interest."



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