Wednesday, September 27, 2006

State security agents arrest 21-year-old independent journalist in Havana

State security agents arrest 21-year-old independent journalist in Havana

Reporters Without Borders, 18 de septiembre de 2006.

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the detention of Ahmed
Rodríguez Albacia, 21, a member of the independent news agency Jóvenes
sin Censura, who was arrested by state security agents without any
grounds in Havana on 15 September.

"Rodríguez's detention raises the possibility of new arrests without
trial like those of Oscar Mario González Pérez and Roberto de Jesús
Guerra Pérez in July 2005 and Armando Betancourt in May 2006," the press
freedom organisation said. "Rodríguez and his family have been the
target of constant harassment in recent weeks and we call for his
immediate release."

Reporters Without Borders also pointed out that Cuba took over the
rotating presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement at the end of its
six-day summit in Havana on 16 September and as such undertook to ensure
respect for human rights and civil liberties in member countries.

Rodríguez was arrested when he went of his own volition to the police
station on Dragones street in central Havana, where he lives. The arrest
was made by two officials from the Directorate for State Security (the
political police) who had followed him there. His mother, Margarita
Albacia, said the head of the police refused to give her any explanation
or let her see him, simply saying he was being questioned and would be
back home in a few days.

On the morning before his arrest, Rodríguez had reported to the Cuban
Human Rights Federation (FCDH) that members of the Committees for the
Defence of the Revolution and the state security's Rapid Response
Brigades had surrounded his house and had threatened to "smash the
heads" of him and his mother.

Rodríguez and his family were the target of a similar operation
organised by state security, the CDR, the Federation of Cuban Women and
the Communist Party of Cuba on 4 August, when a crowd of about 60 people
blocked the entrance to their home and warned that
"counter-revolutionary" meetings would no longer be tolerated there.
Rodríguez enraged the crowd by shouting, "Long live human rights!"

Jóvenes sin Censura has been the target of constant harassment since its
creation by a group of young journalists in September 2005. Two state
security officials ordered the head of the agency, Liannis Meriño
Aguilera, 21, to put a stop to her activities on 29 December in the
eastern city of Holguín.

The regime has not let up pressure on the independent press and foreign
journalists ever since President Fidel Castro's hospitalisation and the
transfer of power to his brother Raúl on 31 July. Some journalists from
Non-Aligned Movement member countries were refused visas to come and
cover the Havana summit.

No comments: