Latin American Herald Tribune
Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of Cuban photojournalist Maria Nelida Lopez Baez, who is being held at an unknown location on the communist-ruled island.
The journalist faces possible persecution for “pre-criminal social danger,” the Paris-based organization, known as RSF, said in a statement.
“The regime once again feels the need to censor and crack down on dissidents and journalists,” RSF 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 Organization of American States.”
“Rejoining the OAS would have meant respecting basic freedoms, a clearly unacceptable prospect for the continent’s last dictatorship,” the press freedom watchdog said. “The international community must press for the release of Cuban political prisoners.”
The organization noted that the accusation of “pre-criminal social danger” leveled against the journalist is commonly used by the Cuban government against individuals who have committed no crime, jailing them merely for their “potential” threat to society.
Three journalists have been convicted on this charge since 2006 and given sentences ranging from three to four years: Oscar Sanchez Madan, Ramon Velazquez Toranso and Raymundo Perdigon Brito.