(WiPC/IFEX) - WiPC welcomes the release of Bernardo Arévalo Padron. According to PENâs sources, the journalist and director of independent press agency Linea Sur Press was released in the last few days (the exact date is yet to be confirmed). He had served over four years of a six-year sentence handed down in 1997 on charges of having produced "enemy propaganda".
In October 2000, Arévalo Padron became eligible for conditional release upon serving half his sentence. However, in April 2001, his application was turned down on the grounds that he had not been sufficiently "politically re-educated". It would now appear that the Cuban authorities have revised their opinion in this regard.
Arévalo Padron, who was being held in El Diamante prison in Rodas, Cienfuegos province, had suffered acutely from high blood pressure and bronchitis. He is an honorary member of the Catalan, English, Peruvian and Canadian PEN centres.
Though International PEN is heartened by Arévalo Padron's release, it remains concerned that economist and author Vladimiro Roca AntÃºnez continues to serve a five-year prison term to which he was sentenced in March 1999 for "sedition and other acts against state security" (see IFEX alert of 29 June 2000).
Send appeals to authorities:
- welcoming Arévalo Padron's release
- calling for the immediate release of Roca AntÃºnez
His Excellency Fidel Castro RuÃz
President of Cuba
c/o Cuban Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
Fax: +1 212 779 1697
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.