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Cuba12 September 2005

González Pérez judicially harassed for more than 50 days

Reporters Without Borders voiced great concern today about the plight of journalist Oscar Mario González Pérez of the Grupo de Trabajo Decoro independent news agency, who is still awaiting trial more than 50 days after his arrest on 22 July in Havana.

“González has been held in four different police stations since his arrest and still does not know what will become of him,” the press freedom organisation said. “Is this a new method the Cuban authorities are using to break a dissident? It is just as absurd as arrest without good reason and constitutes harassment, especially as the victim is a 61-year-old man in frail health.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We reiterate our call for the unconditional release of González and all the other dissidents who have been unjustly imprisoned.”

González was arrested at part of a round-up of 33 dissidents on the eve of a planned protest outside the French embassy against the “normalisation” of relations between Cuba and the European Union.

Twenty-four have since been released while three of the remaining nine have been charged under Law 88 of 15 March 1999, which claims to protect “Cuba’s national independence and economy. González is one of the three. The other two are lawyer René Gómez Manzano and political activist Julio César López. They face up to 20 years in prison.

A Havana judge announced on 27 July that González was to be prosecuted but no date has even been set for a trial. After being detained initially at a National Revolutionary Police unit in the district of San Agustín, he has been held in three other police stations in the Havana districts of Marianao, La Lisa and 10 de Octubre.

The Miami-based news agency Cubanet on 8 September quoted his wife, Mirtha Wong, as saying he has lost six kilos since his arrest and is having trouble sleeping. She was able to see him recently and give him some reading material.

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