14ymedio, Havana, 24 June 2017 — Independent journalist Sol García Basulto is under new restrictions of movement after police imposed a “precautionary measure of house arrest” during an interrogation held Monday in the city of Camagüey.
The 14ymedio correspondent responded to a police summons at ten o’clock in the morning. First lieutenant Yusniel Pérez Torres, from the criminal investigation and operations unit, issued an detention order effective during the time of the interview, which lasted a little over an hour.
The officer informed her that the investigative phase of her case had been concluded and a file had been opened for the alleged crime of “usurpation of legal capacity,” (that is, practicing a profession for which a person is not licensed). Going forward, the reporter can hire an attorney to represent her in the process.
The officer also warned Garcia about her job of interviewing and collecting information on the public right-of-way. In particular, he spoke of an article on “the subject district delegates to the People’s Power,” and article that the reporter denies having written.
Since last March, García and independent journalist Henry Constantín Ferreiro have been harassed for being part of the editorial team of La Hora de Cuba magazine and collaborating with other digital media.
Constantín is the regional vice president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) in Cuba and is not authorized to travel abroad to attend regional body meetings.
The crime of “usurpation of legal capacity” can be penalized with a sentence of between three months and one year of deprivation of liberty. The IAPA believes that these allegations are contrary to international provisions and supports the right of both reporters to “seek, receive, disseminate information and express opinions.”
At the end of Monday’s detention, the officer drafted an act of release and “a precautionary measure consisting of house arrest” against Garcia.
The first lieutenant informed her that she cannot leave the province and nor “have a social life.”
The journalist demanded a copy of the documents but the official assured her that he had no obligation to give her anything in writing. Henry Constantin “will be notified shortly,” according to the police.
On the accusation of usurpation of the legal capacity to exercise journalism García Basulto concluded that she has only exercised her “freedom of expression of speech and of the press recorded in the Constitution of the Republic and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”