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Cuba10 June 2004

Freelance journalist Carlos Alberto Dominguez González released

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the 8 June release after 27 months in prison, of freelance journalist Carlos Alberto Dominguez González, because of poor health.

"Carlos Alberto Dominguez González should never have been imprisoned or detained, in these appalling conditions. We hold the authorities in Havana responsible for the journalist’s state of health," said Reporters Without Borders. The international press freedom organisation strongly condemned the methods of Fidel Castro’s government and called for the immediate release of 28 jailed Cuban journalists.

Cuba is the world’s largest prison for journalists, behind China (27) and Eritrea (14). Reporters Without Borders ranks President Castro as one of 37 "predators" of press freedom worldwide.

Four state security agents arrested González at his Havana home on 23 February 2002, on the eve of a commemorative mass organised by the opposition in tribute to four pilots working for a relief organisation whose planes were shot down by the Cuban Air Force in 1996. He had already been arrested several times because of his political activism and his articles. He was also banned from leaving the country, despite the fact that he, his wife and three children had US visas since June 2000. He was charged with "insult" and "public disorder".

After two days of interrogation in Villa Marista, the headquarters of State Security in Havana and ten days held at the Technical Investigations Department (DTI) in Havana, González was transferred on 8 March 2002 to the Carlos J. Finlay de Marianao military hospital in the capital. He was suffering from high blood pressure, migraines and gastritis. All his visits were postponed "because of his state of health". From 29 March he was imprisoned without trial at the "maximum security" Valle Grande prison 60 kms from the capital. Three months after his arrest he renounced his right to a lawyer since he was never allowed to see him and because his lawyer could not get access to his file. On13 October, he was transferred to Combinado del Este prison, Havana for joining a hunger strike by political prisoners to protest at brutality against three of them.

González, 51, is a journalist with the press agency Cuba Verdad, head of the Instituto del derecho and member of the 30 November democratic Party, both banned.



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