Cuban Police Seize APLP Equipment After Search of its Headquarters

Police patrols at the entrance of the APLP headquarters in Managua. (Cubanet)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 May 2018 — The police search that took place on Wednesday against the headquarters of the Pro Free Press Association (APLP) resulted in the seizure of two computers, two external hard drives, twelve USB memory sticks, three printers and dozens of documents, Amarilis Corty, head of the public relations of the independent organization, told 14ymedio.

The officers explained to the activist that they would take away everything that the APLP might need to carry out its work. The group is dedicated to the protection of the union of independent journalists and to assessing the freedom of the press on the island.

The APLP has its headquarters in the house where José Antonio Fornaris, director of the Association, and his wife Amarilis Cortina Rey reside, located in the Managua district of the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo in Havana.

Cortina says that according to her neighbors the officers had been in the neighborhood since before seven in the morning but it was not until nine that they approached her home. «They went for the garage, very forcefully, they brought a search warrant but I could not see it, they only showed it to Fornaris who was the one who opened the door and accompanied them during the search.

«The troops went around room by room looking for anything that had to do with our work and asking about each paper they found. In the end, they took Fornaris’s phone and they took him away, but they never told me to which police station,» she says. According to her testimony, two agents and a State Security major, a doctor, three police officers and a couple of witnesses from the same neighborhood participated in the search.

«The older one told me that my husband would be released right away and that they only took him to detention to talk to him but I do not trust them,» the woman complains. «The search lasted until around midnight and then they took Fornaris but I still do not know where he is.»

In February of this year four members of the APLP, who were on their way to Trinidad and Tobago to participate in a journalism workshop, were prevented from leaving the country by the immigration authorities, according to José Antonio Fornaris, president of the independent organization speaking to this newspaper. In addition, they have been victims of threatening interrogations carried out by State Security officials to try to make them abandon their work. The Pro Free Press Association is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that helps promote freedom of the press and expression on the island. Its work also includes the publication of the magazine Vocablo (Word). Last December the group sent a report on press freedom in Cuba to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In 2016 there was the case of the police assault on Cubalex, the independent Center for Legal Information, and a year later the headquarters of Convivencia. Then there was the search of the headquarters of Somos+, in the house of its president Eliécer Ávila, and in El Círculo Gallery-Workshop, coordinated jointly by the artist Luis Trápaga and the activist Lia Villares.

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