16th Independent Cuban Journalist Freed From Prison

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By: E&P Staff

Cuba freed and sent into exile independent journalist Miguel Galván Gutierrez this weekend. He’s the 16th journalist to be freed of more than 50 independent reporters, economists, librarians and others jailed in the March 2003 so-called “Black Spring” mass arrests. Galván is a reporter for the independent news agency Havana Press.

“Although I am currently fighting with some health issues resulting from a seven year- period in jail, I am ready to continue reporting and working on behalf of democratic ideals in Cuba,” Galván said in a phone interview from Madrid  Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported.

Galván said he wanted to stay in Cuba, but accepted exile for the sake of his family. “I was ready to face any obstacle in my attempt to practice independent reporting. But as soon as I was jailed, I realized that all the obstacles had been transferred to my family,” Galván told CPJ.

Galván was sentenced to 26 years in prison after his arrest. CPJ said four journalists arrested in the 2003 crackdown remain in jail, as does one other journalist who was detained later.

After talks with leaders of Cuba’s Catholic Church and officials of the Spanish government, Cuban President Raul Castro’s government in July agreed to free 52 of the arrested journalists and dissidents.

So far all released journalists have been sent into exile in Spain. CPJ reported that the Madrid-based daily El Pais last week said Cuba had arranged some kid of “special parole” system for freed journalists who insist on staying on the island. Cuba has not confirmed the existence of the parole.

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