IAPA calls for release of Cuban journalist, protests harassment



IAPA calls for release of Cuban journalist, protests harassment


MIAMI, Florida (December 13, 2005)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today added its voice to an international clamor for the release from prison of Cuban independent journalist Ricardo González Alfonso, who is serving a 20-year term and whose health has deteriorated.


González Alfonso was arrested in March 2003 during the Cuban government crackdown on the independent press and political opposition. His wife, Alida Viso Bello, issued a public call to democratic governments, prominent figures and international organizations around the world “to intercede before the Cuban government on behalf of prisoner of conscience Ricardo González Alfonso, who is in an extremely poor state of health.”


The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquín, declared, “We are committed to continue supporting action on behalf of the independent press in Cuba and in the specific case of González Alfonso we urge the authorities in that country to grant his immediate release, as well as that of all those convicted and sentenced for merely practicing journalism.”


At the time of his arrest González Alfonso, 55, was president of the Manuel Márquez Sterling Journalists Society, correspondent of the Paris, France-based Journalists Without Borders, founding editor of De Cuba magazine, director of the Jorge Mañach independent library, and a stringer for the IAPA Web site www.informecuba.com


Along with Gonzealez Alfosno 24 other independent journalists are in Cuban jails serving sentences for having exercised the right to press freedom.


In another development, the IAPA received a complaint from independent journalist Carlos Serpa Maseira, correspondent on the Isle of Pines (Isle of Youth) of the independent news agency Lux Infopress and bureau chief of the Puente Informativo Cuba-Miami (Cuba-Miami News Bridge). He said his office, which is also his home, was raided by State Security agents on November 29.


He said the four agents seized books, tape recordings, notebooks, diskettes, films, DVD equipment and other items. They took photographs, he added, and made off with bureau documentation, threatening to charge him under Law 88 (know as the gag law), which makes activities carried out by opposition politicians and independent journalists punishable offenses.


“We insist that the Cuban authorities should ease the restrictions to free speech and press freedom. A demonstration of their interest in fostering true democracy would be the release from prison of the independent journalists unjustly detained,” added Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, daily newspaper Prensa Libre.                    

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