Call for release of blogger held for past two months
Published on Monday 29 April 2013.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Cuban authorities to quickly
release Angel Santiesteban-Prats, a writer and blogger who has been held
for the past two months and who has been on hunger strike since his
transfer to a different prison at the start of this month. He is now in
an isolation cell.
"On 9 April, the same day that the authorities acceded to calls for
dissident journalist Calixto Martínez's release, Santiesteban-Prats was
transferred to Prison 1850 in the Havana suburb of San Miguel del Padrón
and was subjected to a 'maximum-severity' regime of treatment.
"His detention is both cruel and absurd. The authorities are trying to
make an example out of him, but they will never be able to prevent the
population from expressing itself in diverse ways. We urge them to
release him without delay. At the same time, we appeal to him to abandon
his hunger strike.
"The Cuban government took over the rotating presidency of the Community
of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in January, but it has
yet to honour its international obligations as regards human rights and
fundamental freedoms. The other CELAC members should remind Cuba of this
Arrested on 28 February to begin serving a five-year jail sentence,
Santiesteban-Prats was placed in an isolation cell, without water or
light, when he went on hunger strike following his transfer to Prison 1850.
Currently allowed to use the phone for only a few minutes a day, he
reported on 22 April that prison guards had held him down and forced him
to drink a filthy liquid that made him ill.
Santiesteban-Prats received the five-year jail sentence on trumped-up
charges of "home violation" and "injuries" at the end of a summary trial
on 8 December.
The winner of major literary prizes, he was arrested several times prior
to the trial in connection with the political views he expressed. The
harassment increased after he created his blog, The children no one
wanted, in which he criticized the government.
One other news provider is currently detained in Cuba. It is Luis
Antonio Torres, a reporter for the government newspaper Granma, who was
arrested in 2011 and was sentenced in July 2012 to 14 years in prison on
spying charges for which no evidence has ever been produced. Reporters
Without Borders also calls for his rapid release.