Cuban journalist freed after six months in prison

Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias was freed this Tuesday, reported the Institute for War & Peace Reporting.  According to statements to Martí Noticias by Martínez, agents from the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) left him near the premises of Hablemos Press, the independent news agency he works for as a correspondent.

His freedom follows three hunger strikes and growing pressure from Cuban civil society and international organizations that had mobilized for his cause, said Reporters Without Borders.  The International Institute of the Press was the last organization to demand his freedom.

"They didn't explain anything to me.  They gave me a paper so I could move freely in the streets.  Apparently, I won't have to go to trial," Martínez said to Diario de Cuba.

Martínez Arias was apprehended on September 16 in Havana's airport while looking for information on the arrival of medical supplies for a possible outbreak of dengue and cholera, which was confirmed a few days later by the government.  He was accused of contempt or offense to the authorities, which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison.

During his imprisonment, Martínez went on hunger strike three times and denounced the "uninhabitable" conditions in the prison.

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.

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