The Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday denounced the arrest and sentencing of an independent Cuban journalist who wrote critical articles about dissident groups and the hardships of island life.
Oscar Sanchez Madan, 44, was arrested April 13 and tried and sentenced to four years in prison that same day for the vaguely worded charge of “social dangerousness,” said veteran human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez, basing his report on information from Oscar Sanchez’s family in the central province of Matanzas.
Joel Simon, executive director of the New York-based press advocacy group said in a statement Thursday that, “it is outrageous that Cuba has once again thrown a journalist in jail after a summary trial or a trumped up charge.”
“We call on Cuban authorities to release Sanchez Madan immediately, as well as the other 24 independent journalists unjustly imprisoned on the island today.”
Elizardo Sanchez, who is not related to Oscar Sanchez, said the trial was “summary and secret, without the presence of relatives or defense attorney.”
He said the arrest brought to 25 the number of independent journalists now held in Cuban prisons. His Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation has tracked political prisoners on the island for many years.
The Cuban government has not commented on the case.