News and Facts about Cuba

DOCTOR AND JOURNALIST STARTS HUNGER STRIKE AFTER 80 DAYS IN PREVENTIVE DETENTION AS CLAMPDOWN CONTINUES

DOCTOR AND STARTS HUNGER STRIKE AFTER 80 DAYS IN PREVENTIVE
DETENTION AS CLAMPDOWN CONTINUES
2009-10-15.

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Medical doctor and journalist
Darsi Ferrer, who began a hunger strike two days ago, today entered his
80th day in "preventive detention".

His wife, Yusnaimy Jorge, has written an open letter condemning the
circumstances of his imprisonment, at Valle Grande jail in Havana.

"The prosecutor's office has now held him in for three months,
ignoring the fact that criminal procedure provides for preventive
detention only when the offence is particularly serious, that it there
is a high incidence of it in the country, or that there is a risk that
the defendant will try to escape justice. None of these conditions
applies to Darsi's case", Yusnaimy Jorge wrote in a letter, posted on
the website Cubanet.

Ferrer was accused of illegally obtaining building materials to renovate
his house, something he has always denied (see the release of 23 July
2009). Under the law governing this kind of offence, his trial should
have been held at the latest 60 days after his arrest.

He began a hunger strike two days ago in protest at his prison
conditions. He was refused medical treatment on 9 September despite
suffering from severe dental pain. The prison governor justified his
refusal by claiming that he had not been able to obtain the necessary
permission from counter-espionage services!

"The reasons for Darsi Ferrer's detention are no longer in doubt, after
80 days in custody in contradiction with the laws of the country. While
Cuba wants to show the world the face of progressive openness and
dialogue, the internal reality is at odds with any improvements in
public freedoms," Reporters Without Borders said.

"The situation for Cuban journalists and bloggers is not getting better
– far from it. Some 25 of them are still in prison, some having been
sentenced to up to 27 years. Among them is Reporters Without Borders'
correspondent, Ricardo González Alfonso, who has been held since March
2003 and is serving a 20-year term (See the release of 25 June 2008)",
the worldwide press organisation said.

There has been an upsurge in threats against independent journalists in
the past few months. One of them, Yoel Espinosa Medrano, received death
threats from militants belonging to the sole political party on 12 October.

on 2 October surrounded a house to block access to a seminar
being held there by the independent communicators' network. They also
briefly detained several dissident journalists, confiscating a camera,
memory cards and notebooks from. In response to their protests, one
police officer told them, "The laws do not apply to dissidents

To this incomplete list of violations of public freedoms, should be
added the refusal of an exit visa to famous Yoani Sánchez who
should have travelled to the United States to receive a prize. The young
woman has just had her fourth refusal. Sánchez has been nominated for
the 2009 Reporters Without Borders prize in the Cyber-freedom category.

Cuba is ranked 169th out of 173 countries in Reporters Without Borders'
world press freedom index for 2008.

DOCTOR AND JOURNALIST STARTS HUNGER STRIKE AFTER 80 DAYS IN PREVENTIVE
DETENTION AS CLAMPDOWN CONTINUES – Misceláneas de Cuba (15 October 2009)
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=23677

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