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Cuba10 May 2007

Independent journalist released after being held for nearly two years

Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, a contributor to the Payolibre and Nueva Prensa Cubana websites and to US-funded Radio Martí who was arrested during an anti-government demonstration on 13 July 2005, was released from Valle Grande prison yesterday.

“Guerra was detained for nearly two years,” Reporters Without Borders said. “A Havana municipal court recently convicted him of disturbing the peace and, taking account of the time he had already been held, he was due to complete his sentence on 13 May.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Our thoughts remain with the 25 other journalists still held in dire conditions in Cuban jails. We continue to call for their release and we hope in the meantime for an improvement in their conditions, which are still very bad.”

Guerra is in poor health as a result of the hunger strikes he staged while in prison. “I was beaten by prison guards during my detention and I was also subjected to psychological torture,” he told Radio Martí.

Guerra said Valle Grande, a prison meant to hold a maximum of 118 detainees, currently has 160 inmates, many of whom have to sleep on the ground.



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