Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cuban Institute For Freedom Of Expression And The Press Denounces Harassment Of Its Members

Cuban Institute For Freedom Of Expression And The Press Denounces
Harassment Of Its Members / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 24 October 2016 – A Cuban State Security operation has
been directed, so far in October, against different independent
journalists who cooperate with the Cuban Institute for Freedom of
Expression and the Press (ICLEP), according to Monday's press release
from that organization.

These operations have resulted in the arrests of nine journalists, raids
of their homes, and confiscation of the tools of their trade. Victims
say they have used physical violence and verbal threats.

The journalist Dianelys Rodriguez, director of the media Panorama
Pinareño, denounced that last Friday, 21 October, his house was searched
without a warrant. The official in charge, identified as Lt. Col. Jesús
Ramón Morel, head of the Department of Confrontation of Pinar del Rio
Counter-Intelligence, with the help of two other officers, forcefully
dragged Rodriguez and covered her mouth so she could not protest,
according to the journalist. Finally, she was taken to the police
station where she was held for five hours. They prepared a warning
letter and threatened her with incarceration if she continued her work.

Four other journalists' were also victims of raids on their homes and
confiscation of the tools of their trade. The preliminary balance sheet,
according to the ICLEP members affected, was the confiscation of five
printers, two laptops, a video-camera with a tripod, six cameras, three
cellphones and other auxiliary devices.

Last Friday, Ricardo Fernandez, Panorama Pinareño's editor, was summoned
to the Pinar del Rio Technical Office, where he was threatened with
going to prison and "assured that ICLEP would disappear." Previously,
the political police had raided his home, confiscating a laptop and

Raul Velaquez, ICLEP executive director, was arrested while
investigating what happened to these journalists. On this occasion, they
took Raul Velaquez's cellphone, gave him an official warning and
threatened that he would be prosecuted if he returned to visit the province.

ICLEP's legal director, Raul L. Risco Perez and journalist Claudia
Cristina Ortega were summoned and threatened with jail. In the east of
the country, Leovanis Correa Moroso, director of Santiaguera Voz, was
"arrested, handcuffed and beaten in the face" and then remained "under
arrest for three days" and also was threatened with prison if he
"continued working as a citizen journalist."

In the municipality of Jatibonico in the province of Sancti Spiritus,
Osmany Borroto Rodriguez, director of the Espirituano, was accused of
distributing the newsletter in the streets. Shortly before, Ada Maria
Lopez had been arrested in the capital's Fellowship Park and taken to a
police station because he was distributing the Habanero Amanecer (Havana
Dawn) newsletter.

Another case of arbitrary detention against ICLEP journalists occurred
on 14 October against a Majadero de Artemis worker, Yosdanys Blanco
Hernandez. The journalist was detained in a market by agents of the
National Revolutionary Police and taken to the Artemis National Police
station, where he was held under arrest for 24 hours. The agents
explained to him that he was arrested because there was a complaint
against him.

ICLEP's denunciation is part of the growing wave of repression by the
authorities towards independent media, which in recent months has led to
the arrest of many journalists.

Source: Cuban Institute For Freedom Of Expression And The Press
Denounces Harassment Of Its Members / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
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