Sunday, May 24, 2009



A Cuban journalist has been sentenced to three years in jail on charges of
"disrespect for authority," report the Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ), the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC), the
Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and Reporters Without Borders

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, director for the independent news
agency Habana Press, was arrested on 18 April just outside of Havana while
he was visiting relatives. The police claimed Du Bouchet Hernández was
shouting anti-government slogans in the street.

According to news reports, he was allegedly denied a fair trial, including
access to a lawyer. It is unclear if he is also facing charges for
distributing enemy propaganda.

Miriam Herrera, an independent journalist based in Havana who has spoken to
Du Bouchet Hernández since he's been jailed, told CPJ she believed he was
imprisoned in reprisal for his work - he had recently reported on social

The IFEX members are asking the Cuban government to make public the reasons
for Du Bouchet's arrest and imprisonment, and, if he is being charged for
the non-violent expression of his views, to release him.

Du Bouchet Hernández has previously been jailed on "disrespect"
("desacato") charges, say the members. He was arrested in August 2005 a few
months after covering the congress of the Assembly to Promote Civil
Society. The two-day gathering, unprecedented in Cuba, brought together 200
opposition activists and guests to discuss ways to create democracy in
Cuba. Du Bouchet Hernández was released in August 2006 after serving a
one-year sentence.

Du Bouchet has appealed his sentence but it is unlikely he will succeed.
According to WiPC, of the many writers, journalists and librarians
imprisoned during the "Black Spring" crackdown in April 2003 who appealed
their sentences, none were successful.

According to CPJ, 21 independent reporters and editors are currently jailed
in Cuba, which is the second-worst jailer of journalists in the world after

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