14ymedio, Havana, 9 April 2019 — Tuesday, the police raided the home of journalist Augusto César San Martín in Havana, as confirmed 14ymedio by his wife Yanela Duran. After the search the reporter was taken to the Zanja Street Police Station, where he was released after being detained for five hours.
At seven o’clock today nine people showed up to undertake a police search in the independent journalist’s house in Carlos III street, at the corner of Marqués González. The raid concluded at 10:45 am, said Durán.
“An official from the Interior Ministry informed me that Augusto Ceesar would be taken to the Zanja Street Station to be informed of the charges. They took all his work equipment, computer, camera, microphone, flash memories, a NanoStation and numerous documents,” explained Durán.
San Martín is a frequent contributor to the Cubanet information site and activist of the Pro Libertad de Prensa Association (APLP). During the search this Tuesday they had to take him to the hospital because his blood pressure was very high, his wife details.
Among the nine people involved in the operation were two police officers, two plainclothes individuals who presented themselves as technicians in telecommunications, Lieutenant Colonel Kenya Maria Morales Larrea, two from State Security and two other witnesses from the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), as required by law.
After being released, San Martín explained to 14ymedio that he was shown search warrant but was not allowed to read it. “They came with the justification of looking for communication equipment but they took everything they felt like,” he said. He also explained that when he was released, they did not levy charges or say he would go to trial, but he does have fines to pay. “They gave me two fines, one for having telecommunications equipment and the other for illegal economic activity without specifying absolutely anything about what they are referring to.”
This is not the first time that Augusto César San Martín has been the target of a repressive action. Last December, San Martín was summoned to the offices of the Department of Immigration, Identification and Emigration (DIIE) in Havana’s Plaza municipality. An officer warned him then that if he continues with the work of an independent journalist, he ran the risk of being arrested and having his work tools confiscated.
Last February, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a detailed account of violations against freedom of expression and the exercise of the free press in Cuba. The IACHR denounces that “despite the years that have elapsed and the repeated recommendations on this matter, intolerance continues to be the rule on the part of the Cuban authorities towards any form of criticism or opposition.”
For its part, the most recent report from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), presented in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), denounced that freedom of expression and the independent press fall into the category of “criminal behavior” according to the Cuban Constitution. The IAPA adds that article 149 of the Penal Code maintains the crime of “usurpation of legal capacity” — that is, working in a profession without a license — is used to punish independent journalists.
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