Cuban dissident journalist released from prison against his wishes

Even as two imprisoned journalists are refusing to eat in protest against the Cuban government, on Saturday, Feb. 12, Cuban authorities freed another independent reporter -- who has spent the past eight years in prison — in the latest round of political prisoners being released from jail, reported the Miami Herald and the Associated Press.

Héctor Maseda, married to Laura Pollán, co-founder of the opposition group “Ladies in White,” was freed along with Ángel Moya Acosta, founder of another dissident movement and also married to one of the leaders of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler.

Reuters said that both were forced to leave prison against their will.

Previously, the two dissidents had refused to leave prison in protest against the conditions in which other prisoners were being kept. Both will remain in Cuba and will not be exiled in Spain, as have been the other political prisoners released after the agreement made by President Raúl Castro in July 2010.

The journalist, Maseda, 68, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being arrested in March 2003 during a crackdown on the opposition known as the “Black Spring.” Moya, 46, also was sentenced to 20 years.

Journalists Pedro Argüelles and Alberto Santiago Du Bouchet, in jail since 2003 and 2009, respectively, have been on a hunger strike since Feb. 1, protesting the Cuban government's pressure to force liberated prisoners to leave the country.

This blog is produced at The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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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.