The Reporters of ‘La Hora de Cuba’ Were Released Under a Precautionary Sentence of House Arrest

Photo of journalist Henry Constantín Ferreiro (left) and the designer Neife Rigau (right). (La Hora de Cuba)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 21, 2021 — The journalist Henry Constantín Ferreiro, the designer Neife Rigau, and the photographer Iris Mariño, from the independent media La Hora de Cuba, were released this Wednesday under a precautionary sentence of house arrest, after being arrested in the demonstrations on July 11 in Camagüey.

As reported by La Hora de Cuba on social media, the three communicators “face the identical charge of public disorder, for trying to cover the protests  . . . We thank everyone for the campaign for their release,” the independent publication added.

Mariño, who is also an actress, confirmed shortly after being released that she is being prevented from leaving her home. During a live broadcast on her Facebook profile, she thanked all the people who joined on social media to campaign for her release.

“There are still people who are detained; please continue to unite your voices so that those people go free, people who went to a march of peace and love,” she added, acknowledging that she had lived through very difficult days.

The journalists of La Hora de Cuba are frequently harassed by the police, who prevent them from carrying out their work. Constantín and Mariño were threatened with prosecution for the crime of “usurpation of legal capacity”* for their journalistic work.

After learning of the journalists’ arrest on July 11, the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) demanded the immediate release of Constantín, Rigau, and Mariño, who had been imprisoned in the police unit known as Second Station.

Regarding Rigau and Mariño, the IAPA reported that it learned from sources close to the police that they could be released “under a condition of house arrest for an indefinite period.” But for Constantín, who is the vice president of the IAPA on the island and the director of La Hora de Cuba, they were going to press charges against him and take him to trial.

On Sunday, July 11, the police raided Constantín’s home and seized cell phones, a computer, and money.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded last week the release of the independent media’s reporters and others under arrest, urging the government to release them “immediately and unconditionally.”

“The Cuban authorities have responded to the largest anti-government protests in the country in decades with expected hostility, attacks on members of the press, and interruptions in internet service,” said Ana Cristina Núñez, CPJ investigative reporter for Central and South America.

The CPJ revealed that the regime has also prohibited other journalists from leaving their homes, including 14ymedio reporter Luz Escobar, and at least 26 members of the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and Press (ICLEP).

*Translator’s note: “Usurpation of legal capacity” is the term used in Cuba to define practicing a profession without a license; however the government refuses to license the independent practice of many professions, including journalism and law..

Translated by Tomás A.


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