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Opposition journalist Dania García freed while awaiting appeal hearing

Dania Virgen García

(RSF/IFEX) - 9 May 2010 - Reporters Without Borders has welcomed the release of opposition journalist Dania Virgen García ahead of her appeal but called for a fair and independent hearing for her and for the release of 25 other journalists in Cuban jails.

García, who contributes to the opposition websites Primavera Digital and CubaNet, and also writes a blog ( http://www.daniavirgengarcia.com/ ) linked to a radical Miami-based, anti-Castro group, was released on 7 May while awaiting her appeal hearing.

She was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison on 23 April, officially in connection with a family quarrel. The authorities accused her of "abuse of authority" for forcing her 23-year-old daughter out of her home.

"We are obviously pleased that she is out of prison, but nobody should be satisfied with this release," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "This opposition journalist must be guaranteed a rigorous and independent appeal that is neither politicised nor stacked against her."

"When it comes to Cuba, the good news of a release is often a red herring. We repeat our call for the release of the 25 other journalists who are languishing in Cuban jails," RSF added.

The journalist herself condemned her trial as "political" the day after she was freed from prison. "No one in Cuba has ever been sentenced for this reason before," she said. She expects her appeal to be heard on 10 or 11 May.

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