IPI demands release of Cuban reporter jailed for six months without charges

The International Press Institute, IPI, demanded the immediate release of Cuban journalist Calixto Martínez who was arrested for insulting authorities, according to a press released from the organization.

IPI's demand came one week after the journalist abandoned his second hunger strike in less than four months after Cuban authorities promised to free him, added the statement. During his imprisonment, the journalist denounced the "uninhabitable" conditions and the lack of medical attention he received after coming down with several fevers while being held at the Combinado del Este facility.

Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, reporter for the Hablemos Press independent news agency, was arrested on Sept. 16, 2012, at the Havana international airport while investigating the arrival of medical supplies to the island.

While authorities accused Martínez of violating Article 114 of the Cuban criminal code, which penalizes the defamation or insulting of a public official with up to three years in prison, the government has not offered any details about the accusations against the reporter and he has yet to be formally charged with a crime, added IPI

"This case is clear example of how criminal defamation and insult laws can be abused by governments to shut down independent voices and should be repealed,” said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie, "Calixto Martínez should be released from prison immediately and unconditionally.”

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.