Cuba frees last journalist arrested in 2003 Black Spring crackdown

Human rights organizations and freedom of expression groups celebrated Cuba’s release of one of the last jailed dissident journalists. Pedro Argüelles, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003, was freed last week, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune.

“I’m a civil liberties fighter, I have a commitment to Cuba, to human rights, to freedom and a commitment to democracy – that is my vocation in life,” Arguelles said, quoted by the Tribune.

Argüelles was the last of the journalists to be released of those arrested in the massive 2003 “Black Spring” crackdown on dissidents. However, according to Reporters without Borders (RSF), journalist Albert Santiago Du Bouchet is still serving a three-year jail sentence for “disrespect for authority.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also expressed concern for the “strings attached” to his release. “We call on the Cuban authorities to remove all conditions from the release of Argüelles Morán,” said the CPJ’s Carlos Lauría.

Argüelles and Santiago Du Bouchet had been on a hunger strike since the beginning of Feburary. Cuba began to release the 52 political prisoners jailed in the 2003 arrests in July of 2010. The majority were exiled to Spain.

Other Related Headlines:
» Reporters without Borders (Does last Black Spring journalist’s release mark turning point for free expression?)

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.