Judge Denies Bail to Cuban Independent Journalist Serafin Moran Detained in Texas

Cuban freelance journalist Serafín Morán Santiago, 40, has been accused in the island of spreading propaganda and being a paid agent of the United States government.  Now he is in an immigration detention center in Texas waiting for a response to his asylum application. (Courtesy of Serafín Morán Santiago)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miami | 24 August 2018 — An immigration judge from the State of Texas denied bail to independent journalist Serafín Morán Santiago, who has been detained in that state since last April after requesting political asylum at the border with Mexico.

Morán must remain in custody until his case is decided at an asylum hearing in October, journalist María Fernanda Egas, of the Fundamedios organization, which monitors freedom of the press in the United States, said via telephone to 14ymedio.

Both Fundamedios and Reporters Without Borders launched an alert on Morán’s situation, who in their opinion must be “immediately released” and under no circumstances repatriated to Cuba. The reporter, according to both organizations, would face on the island “a real risk of death,” denounced María Fernanda Egas.

Serafín Morán Santiago turned himself in to the agents of the Border Patrol on April 13, after traveling a complicated route from Guyana, the first country he visited after leaving Cuba. This passage is made daily by dozens of Cubans in order to reach the southern border of the United States.

After the implementation of President Trump’s policy known as “zero tolerance” for undocumented immigration, asylum seekers can remain detained until an immigration judge determines whether or not their case is eligible to receive this status.

In the current fiscal year, which ends in September, 364 Cubans have been returned to the island, most of them after being detained in facilities of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Cuba pledged to the United States that it would accept all of its nationals with deportation orders starting with the new migratory agreement signed by both countries in 2017.

According to Morán’s complaints, agents of State Security (Cuban) “kidnapped” and “punched” him in June 2016. On September 2, 2017, he was again arrested and his work equipment confiscated. The journalist says he tried to seek refuge through the US embassy in Havana, but his case file was rejected twice.

In the event that Morán fails to prove that he is being persecuted by the Cuban government, he could be repatriated to the island. The journalist, 40, has collaborated as an independent reporter for media such as Univisión 23, Telemundo, Hispano Post, Primavera Digital, Cubanet and TV Martí.

Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria


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