Reporter jailed in Cuba after covering government evictions
New York, May 30, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the
detention of independent Cuban journalist Armando Betancourt who was
arrested a week ago while covering the evictions of dozens of families
from their homes in the central city of Camagüey, sources told CPJ.
On May 23, authorities forcefully evicted families allegedly
occupying homes illegally, according to local sources. Betancourt, a
reporter for the news agency Nueva Prensa Cubana in Camagüey, was
arrested along with several people who were protesting the evictions, a
relative told CPJ. The journalist did not participate in the protests,
according to several sources.
At the time of the arrest, Betancourt identified himself as a
journalist, sources told CPJ. The journalist handed over his notes
before he was pushed into a truck and taken into custody, they said
The journalist is being held at a local police station on the
outskirts of Camagüey, CPJ sources said. Authorities confirmed the
detention to a family member on May 24, but relatives have not been
allowed to visit him, a relative said. Police told Betancourt’s family
that the journalist would be charged with aggravated public disturbance
and could be sentenced to prison.
“We are outraged by the arrest of our colleague who was arbitrarily
detained solely for doing his job,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper
said. “We call on Cuban authorities to immediately release Betancourt
and the other 24 journalists who are currently imprisoned.”
More information on Cuba’s imprisoned journalists.