Dissidents in Cuba
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June 2009
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Dissident photographer held incommunicado, faces jail on "pre-crime social danger" charge

19 June 2009
Dissident photographer held incommunicado, faces jail on "pre-crime
social danger" charge

Incident details
María Nélida López Báez, Photographer
Enyor Díaz Allen, Journalist

(RSF/IFEX) – A collective of Havana-based independent journalists called
the Centro de Información Hablemos Press (CIHPRESS) is being kept in the
dark about where its photographer, María Nélida López Báez, has been
held since her arrest by the State Security force on 16 June 2009.
Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of López Báez,
who was already arrested three times in May.

"The regime once again feels the need to censor and crack down on
dissidents and journalists," Reporters Without Borders said. "This helps
to explain why it was so contemptuous about the recent decision,
obtained thanks to the efforts of other Latin American countries, to let
Cuba back into the Organisation of American States (OAS)."

The press freedom organisation added, "Rejoining the OAS would have
meant respecting basic freedoms, a clearly unacceptable prospect for the
continent's last dictatorship. López's arrest and possible conviction
demonstrate this. The international community must press for the release
of Cuban political prisoners."

The 19 journalists still being held since the March 2003 "Black Spring"
crackdown include fellow photographer Omar Rodríguez Saludes of Nueva
Prensa, who received the longest jail sentence – 27 years.

According to CIHPRESS, López Báez's son received a visit at 7 a.m.
(local time) on 16 June from a woman who gave him a purse and other
personal effects belonging to his mother. The visitor told him his
mother had been arrested by the State Security force as she was
approaching the CIHPRESS office. He was not told where she is being held.

The State Security force had recently threatened to jail López Báez on a
charge of "pre-criminal social danger," a provision often used by the
Cuban authorities against individuals who have committed no crime. It
allows them to imprison a person solely on the grounds of the
"potential" threat they allegedly pose to society.

Three journalists have been convicted on this charge since 2006,
receiving sentences ranging from three to four years in prison. They are
Oscar Sánchez Madán, a correspondent for the website Cubanet, Ramón
Velázquez Toranso, of the Libertad news agency, and Raymundo Perdigón
Brito, of Yayabo Press agency.

CIHPRESS also reported that its young correspondent in the southeastern
city of Guantánamo, Enyor Díaz Allen, who has been detained since 3 May
(World Press Freedom Day), has been sentenced to a year in prison for
"insulting behaviour."

A total of 24 journalists are currently in prison in Cuba. They include
Reporters Without Borders correspondent Ricardo González Alfonso, the
founder of the "De Cuba" magazine and winner of the 2008 Reporters
Without Borders press freedom prize. He is serving a 20-year sentence
that he received in March 2003.

Dissident photographer held incommunicado, faces jail on "pre-crime
social danger" charge – IFEX (19 June 2009)

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