The blogger Angel Santiesteban Prats now has completed one year in prison.
It’s been one year today since Ángel Santiesteban Prats was detained in prison. The writer and netizen is the author of an informative blog, The Children Nobody Wanted, created in 2008, known for its open criticism of the government. On December 8, 2012, after an arbitrary and hasty trial, the Prosecutor declared Angel Santiesteban Prats guilty of the charges against him. Officially, he was condemned to five years in prison for “home violation and injuries,” in spite of the fact that no tangible proof existed. Thus, the blogger was transferred April 9, 2013 to Prison 1850 in San Miguel del Padrón (Havana), where on repeated occasions he suffered mistreatment and torture.
On February 18, 2014, Reporters without Borders learned that the National Association of Law Offices (ONBC) suspended his lawyer, Amelia Rodríguez Cala, so that she cannot practice in the courts for a period of six months. This considerably affects her efforts to have the journalist released. The lawyer is also in charge of the defense of two other dissidents, the musician Gorki Aguila, and Sonia Garro, a member of the Ladies in White, a peaceful protest movement made up of the wives and family members of the political prisoners, which in 2005 received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience.
“A year ago Reporters without Borders denounced these cruel and draconian practices. We urge the Cuban authorities to drop all charges against Ángel Santiesteban Prats and request that the journalist be released immediately,” said Lucie Morillon, Director of Investigations of the organization.
“The intimidation to which journalists are constantly subjected in Cuba is extremely worrying. Cuba occupies last place in the Americas in the World Classification of Freedom of the Press in 2014. It’s in place 170, out of 180 countries,” Lucie Morillon explained.
Although Ángel Santiesteban Prats is the only blogger currently serving a sentence in prison, the authorities continue harassing all the journalists who contradict the official propaganda. The correspondents from independent Cuban websites like Hablemos Press are frequently detained arbitrarily. Hours later they are freed. Other victims of this method are the journalist William Cacer Diaz, on February 14, as well as at least six other news providers: Magaly Novis Otero, Pablo Morales Marchán, Ignacio Luis González Vidal, Denis Noa Martínez and Tamara Rodríguez Quesada, in January 2014.
Ángel Santiestaban-Prats, who today sent an open letter to Raúl Castro, is listed in the Barometer of Press Freedom, as is José Antonio Torres, a correspondent in Santiago de Cuba for the official daily, Granma, imprisoned since May 1, 2011.
Published in Reporteros sin Fronteras (Reporters without Borders)
Translated by Regina Anavy
28 February 2014