20 February 1998


Journalist sentenced to one year hard labour

Incident details

Juan Carlos Recio Martinez


legal action

(RSF/IFEX) - According to RSF, journalist Juan Carlos Recio Martinez has
been sentenced to one year hard labour without detention. He has been
convicted of participating in "activities against state security."

**See IFEX alerts as noted**

On 13 February, Recio Martinez, a reporter with the independent Cuba Press
agency in the province of Villa Clara, was sentenced by the Villa Clara
court for not having warned authorities of the existence of a pamphlet which
asked Cubans not to vote during the October 1997 legislative elections,
despite his knowledge of the contents of the pamphlet. During his trial,
which took place on 3 and 6 February, the prosecutor had asked for a
sentence of 18 months "hard labour under detention." Recio Martinez, 29
years old, must serve his sentence at an agricultural production cooperative
in Villa Clara (see IFEX alert dated 6 February 1998).

This sentence was handed down at a time when Cuban authorities are releasing
a number of political prisoners following a request for clemency made by
Pope John Paul II during his 21-25 January visit to Cuba. Meanwhile, two
journalists remain in prison: Lorenzo Paez Nunez and Bernardo Arevalo
Padron, who are serving their respective sentences of 18 months and 6 years
in prison, the former for "defaming the national police" and the latter for
"lack of respect to President Fidel Castro and Carlos Lage, President of the
National Assembly" (see IFEX alerts dated 16 July, 17 October, 18 September
and 21 August 1997).

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • appealing to them to use their influence to pardon Juan Carlos Recio
    Martinez, Lorenzo Paez Nunez and Bernardo Arevalo Padron

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Fidel Castro
    Havana, Cuba

    co the Cuban Mission at the United Nations
    New York NY 10016, United States
    Fax: +1 212 779 1697

    or co the Cuban diplomatic representative in your country

    (in the United States)
    Cuban Interest Section
    Washington DC, United States
    Fax: +1 202 797 8521

    (in Canada)
    Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
    388 Main Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1S 1E3, Canada
    Fax: +1 613 563 0068

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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