Fabio Prieto Llorente, an independent journalist, is one of the victims of a crackdown launched by the Cuban authorities against independent journalists in March 2003. He was arrested overnight on 19 March 2003 then sentenced to 20 years in prison for “damaging the independence and territorial integrity of the Cuban state”. He is currently imprisoned in El Guayabo prison on the Island of Youth in western Cuba.
He started working as a journalist in 1997 with the Havana Press news agency. From 2001, he began working as a freelance and in his home area he founded the independent Isle of Pines (or Island of Youth) news agency.
Prieto has moved prisons several times since the start of his sentence, increasing his sense of isolation. Moreover, he is frequently put in solitary confinement and has been on several hunger strikes to protest at his appalling prison conditions. His health has deteriorated in jail due to distressing factors such as a lack of hygiene, the damp, poor food, a cramped cell and maltreatment.
Since the start of 2005, he has suffered from numerous illness for which he has received no treatment and which have been brought on by his imprisonment.
His sister, Clara Lourdes Prieto Llorente, said his transfer to El Guayabo, on 18 January 2006, could allow his health to improve and be more convenient for visits from his family, particularly his mother.