Police Take the Journalist Roberto Quinones to Prison

Roberto de Jesús Quiñones was taken to prison on September 11, 2019. (Cubanet)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, September 11, 2019 — The journalist Roberto Quiñones was arrested this Wednesday and driven to jail by the police, after he didn’t report on September 5 to the provincial prison of Guantanamo to complete a one-year sentence.

Three National Revolutionary Police (PNR) agents arrived at Quiñones’s house after four in the afternoon and arrested him, as his wife Ana Rosa Castro detailed to the information website Cubanet.

“Roberto was prepared. He had his things gathered, so they wouldn’t delay in taking him. They told him that he had the right to a phone call, that way he would give me the details of his exact location. Later they informed me that they took him to the provincial prison,” added Ana Rosa.

Recently, Quiñones had announced that he would not report voluntarily to the prison. “The president of the court that sanctioned me and the judges of the provincial court that did the other setup of a staging of a supposed act of justice, insisted that I am a dangerous citizen, I have thought that in that case the best thing is to wait for them to come arrest me in my own house,” he argued.

The independent journalist and contributer to Cubanet was sanctioned on August 7 for the crime of resistance and disobedience. He received a sentence of a year in prison substituted for correctional work with internment, during a trial held in the Municipal Court of the city of Guantanamo.

The journalist’s arrest occurred on April 22 while he was waiting to cover the trial against the pastors Ramón Rigal and Ayda Expósito, who refused to send their children to school and opted for the method of teaching known as homeschooling. According to their testimony they were beaten by officials during the arrest.

This month, the US government condemned the prosecution of the reporter. “We urge the Cuban regime to immediately release Mr. Quiñones and cease the abuse and mistreatment against him,” said the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in statement.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) also critized the Cuban Government and demanded that it suspend the punishment and “not continue trampling human rights.”

At the end of August Quiñones was awarded the Patmos Prize for Religious Liberty, which the Patmos Institute gives out. The organization recognized the Catholic layman because “in a very critical period for Cuban civil society in general, including for churches, where the majority prefer to remain silent (…), he decided to be the exception and live against the current.”

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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