Ley Mordaza – Gag Law
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    International Pen: Resolution on Cuba

    International Pen: Resolution on Cuba

    2006-06-13 www.internationalpen.org.uk

    The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 72nd
    International Congress in Berlin, Germany from 22nd to 28th May
    Deeply concerned that the Cuban government continues to carry out an
    appalling policy of repression against writers, independent journalists
    and librarians – repression that has increased recently with a wave of
    new arrests – in spite of international calls on the Cuban government
    for more democratic openings within the field of human rights, including
    freedom of expression.
    Alarmed on account of the fact that there are currently 28 writers,
    independent journalists and librarians sentenced to lengthy prison terms
    for attempting to carry out independent journalism and practice their
    right to free speech. They have been charged under Law 88 of 1999 which
    allows for long jail sentences that deter journalists and writers from
    exercising their freedom of expression.

    Dismayed that these journalists, writers and librarians are kept in
    prisons that lack humane conditions and, in many cases, in prisons that
    are a great distance from their families, which makes it very difficult,
    and at times impossible, for their relatives to visit them.

    Concerned that many of these prisoners are in a very poor state of
    health and lack adequate medical attention in prison, a situation that
    puts their lives at risk.
    Among these prisoners are the following:

    RICARDO GONZALEZ ALFONSO, short story writer, poet and journalist,
    editor of the literary magazine ‘De Cuba’ and founder of the Manuel
    Márquez Sterling School of Independent Journalism – both of which have
    been banned by the government; and author of the book of poetry ‘Hombres
    sin rostro’ [‘Faceless men’]; arrested in March 2003 and serving a
    20-year prison sentence.

    REGIS IGLESIAS RAMIREZ, fiction writer and poet, author of the book
    ‘Historias gentiles antes de la Resurrección’ (‘All Blues and Tomorrow
    Songs’), sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment in March 2003 for his work
    with the Varela Project.

    Also in prison since March 2003 and in poor health are the journalists

    Alarmed by the fact that the independent journalists JORGE OLIVERA, EDEL
    JOSE GARCIA DIAS and OSCAR ESPINOSA CHEPE – who were freed from prison
    in 2004 – have been denied permission by the Cuban government to leave
    the country, despite the fact that the United States Interests Office in
    Havana has granted them their visas.

    Concerned that those few writers and librarians who have been released
    on ‘conditional licences’ (licencias extrapenales) have been subjected
    to police harassment or aggression from crowds organised by the authorities.

    Disappointed that the Cuban government has not quashed the so-called
    Security of Information Law that impedes Cubans from using internet
    services, these being reserved for use by those who work for official

    Urges the Cuban government to release unconditionally all the writers,
    journalists and librarians who have been imprisoned for carrying out
    their profession and cultural activities independent of official

    Demands that the Cuban government allow the aforementioned independent
    journalists to leave the country since they have been granted visas to
    travel to the United States where their relatives are already living.
    This would bring the Cuban government into line with Article 13 of the
    UN Declaration of Human Rights.
    Urges the Cuban government to quash Law 88 of 1999 as well as the
    Security of Information Law, on the grounds that it prohibits citizens
    independent of the State from accessing information freely via the
    internet; and to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and
    Political Rights which guarantees freedom of expression and information.


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