Saturday, April 29, 2006

Police repress independent librarian

Police repress independent librarian

PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba - April 25 (Rafael Ferro, Abdala Press / - Abigail Ortega Beltrán was detained by forces of the
Cuban political police on the main street of this city and was taken to
the provincial police's station for interrogation.

Ortega, who runs the Polo Montañez library, said after he was freed two
hours later: "They interrogated me for two hours and threatened me for
my status as an independent librarian. They told me that if I went back
and meet with people who oppose the government, they would put me on
trial and I could go to prison. I told them I wasn't committing any
crime by meeting with whomever I wanted to inside my home. They paid no
attention to my protest and drew up a warning certificate as well. It's
a document they create against people to threaten them."

Previously, Ortega's home had been surrounded by members of the "rapid
response brigades." "I was meeting with a group of librarians in my
house, that's where I have my library," Beltrán, the independent library
director, indicated. "We heard people shouting in my doorstep and
decided to go out to see what was going on. They were verbally
assaulting us, they called us 'worms' and 'counterrevolutionaries.' They
had no right to say those things to us, we're peaceful and don't bother
anyone. The Independent Libraries Project is healthy."

In the same way, Ortega Beltrán's house was visited by two police
officers who identified themselves as Lázaro and Beune. The house was
searched and books and documents belonging to the independent librarian
were seized.

"They told me as a justification for the search that the books I had
were subversive propaganda and they were going to close the library.
That means that without any kind of order or law they threatened to
throw me out of my house, since the library is my own house, it's
something absurd," Ortega declared.

The Independent Libraries Project is considered illegal in Cuba and its
members are threatened and persecuted by the authorities on the island.

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