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Reporters Under Arrest
Tuesday, July 26, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

One arrested, one on hunger strike

Reporters Without Borders is protesting the arrest of an independent journalist in the past weekend's roundup.

Reporters Without Borders condemns the detention of independent journalist Oscar Mario González of the Grupo de Trabajo Decoro news agency in a wave of arrests of dissidents in Havana on 22 July. He joins the 21 other journalists who have been held in dreadful conditions since 18 March 2003.

The organization is also expressing its great concern for the fate of one of the journalists imprisoned since March, 2003, Mario Enrique Mayo Hernandez, who sent a letter to his wife saying he had begun a hunger strike on July 14th.

"I will not wait until the government deigns to grant the release of 20 detainees because they are ill or because Fidel Castro needs to improve his international image. I have even less intention of waiting 10 or 20 years (…).

"I was imprisoned just for freely saying what I think and for practising independent journalism on this island. I have never lied about human rights violations in Cuba. This is why I will maintain my hunger strike until I obtain my freedom or I die. If death is the price to pay, I am ready to pay it, but I want the world to know that nothing short of freedom will now be able to stop me."

He was sentenced to 20-years in 2004 for the crime of " threat to the state's independence or territorial integrity." He had served as editor of the Felix Varela News Agency in Camagúey.

"We take his warning seriously and the Cuban government would be well-advised to do so as well," Reporters Without Borders said. "Must the government wait until one of the 21 journalists held since the Black Spring of 2003 dies before it finally agrees to release the others ?"

The organisation added : "By committing himself to an indefinite hunger strike, Mayo Hernández is representing all of his fellow-journalists and other dissidents who have been convicted without cause and pushed to their limit by more two years of detention in filthy prisons. His desperate act calls for an urgent pardon for him and all the Black Spring's other victims, even if this means pardoning innocent men."

Mr. Mayo Hernández represents all of us Internet journalists, too.

Update - Babalublog has more on the arrest of González.


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