Cuban journalist released from prison can remain on island

Cuban dissident journalist Iván Hernández was freed from prison Saturday, Feb. 18, after spending eight years in jail. His release comes in the latest round of political prisoners being freed, which started earlier this month.

Iván Hernández, 39, was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Unlike most other freed prisoners, he was released on parole and was authorized to remain in Cuba, reported La Prensa Gráfica. The week before, journalist Héctor Maseda also was freed and allowed to stay on the island.

"Now I plan to continue doing the same independent journalism that I did before to inform public opinion about what is happening in Cuba," he said, as quoted by news agency EFE. However, he was ordered to remain "quiet at home," reported El Universal.

Most of the freed Cuban prisoners have been exiled to Spain, where some have complained about the conditions under which they are living.

In July 2010, President Raúl Castro and the Catholic church in Cuba reached an agreement to free 52 prisoners of conscience, mostly members of the opposition and independent journalists who had been arrested in 2003 during a crackdown on dissidents known as the “Black Spring."

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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.