14ymedio, Havana, 30 January 2018 — Iris Mariño García, a journalist from La Hora de Cuba (Cuba’s Hour), was charged on Monday with the crime of “usurpation of legal capacity” and is facing a sentence of up to one year in prison, the magazine’s director Henry Constantin told 14ymedio. Mariño is the third member of the editorial team of the independent publication to face prosecution.
On Sunday, Mariño received a verbal police summons at her home from an officer who told her to appear on Monday. The reporter presented herself to the First Police Unit in the city of Camagüey.
At the station, Captain Yanet Díaz informed Mariño of an accusation similar to that received received last year by Constantín himself, along with the reporter Sol García Basulto. The official, however, did not give her a copy.
“Supposedly someone is accusing her of having conducted an interview on the street, the same script they used with us,” says the director of La Hora de Cuba.
Mariño now faces the possibility that a judicial process will be opened against her, charging her with violating Article 149 of the Penal Code which makes it illegal for individuals to “perform acts proper to a profession which they are not properly authorized to exercise.”
The official did not specify which of Mariño’s articles will serve as evidence in a court but, Constantín reported, she mentioned “the interviews published in the magazine in a general manner and specifically the opinion polls which are published on the last page.”
The official reproached Mariño for engaging in journalism without authorization and warned her that they will meet “many more times.” The reporter did not receive any information about possible precautionary measures that limit her freedom of movement.
Last year, following the accusation against Sol García and Henry Constantín, the Inter-American Press Association stated that the actions against the two journalists are contrary to international provisions that support “the right to seek, receive, and disseminate information and express opinions.”
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