URGENT: Reporters Without Borders Ask for Immediate Release of Angel Santiesteban

Call for the release of the blogger Angel Santiesteban-Prats, imprisoned two months ago.

Reporters Without Borders calls on the Cuban authorities to release Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, writer and author of the blog The Children Nobody Wanted, who was imprisoned on February 28, 2013, as soon as possible. The prisoner, currently on hunger strike, was placed in solitary confinement when he was transferred to [another] prison in early April.

“The same day that the authorities agreed to release the dissident journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, Angel Santiesteban-Prats was transferred to Prison 1850 and placed under a maximum severity. This detention is both absurd and cruel. The authorities, who believe that this will set an example, can never prevent pluralistic expression among the population. Ángel Santiesteban-Prats should be released without delay,” said Reporters Without Borders, which continues to encourage the blogger to end his hunger strike.

“The Cuban government, which in January 2013 assumed the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), fails to meet its international commitments on matters of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Member countries of CELAC should remind it of this requirement,” the organization added.

The blogger, who was transferred on 9 April to Prison 1850 in San Miguel del Padron (Havana), began a hunger strike shortly after he arrived at the prison, before they put him in an isolation cell, without light or water. He is only allowed to talk on the phone a few minutes a day. On April 22 Angel Santiesteban-Prats reported that he was assaulted by prison guards. Immobilized he was forced to swallow a stinking liquid that made him sick.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats was sentenced to five years in prison on December 8, 2012, officially for “violation of domicile and injury” following an expedited process. The writer, who has won several major literary awards, had been arrested several times before this final instance, because of his political stance. They redoubled their efforts to harass him since he created his blog, independent and critical of the government.

In addition to Ángel Santiesteban-Prats, there is another “information action” imprisoned in Cuba and that is it is Luis Antonio Torres, an employee of the newspaper Granma, who was arrested in 2011 and sentenced in July to fourteen years in prison for “espionage,” a crime he never committed. Reporters Without Borders is also calling for his swift release.

From Reporters Without Borders

29 April 2013