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Journalist begins hunger strike after being returned to prison

(RSF/IFEX) - Journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias began a hunger strike on 2 June 2010, the day he was returned to prison at Havana's Centro Alternativo de Procesamiento de Detenidos (Alternative Processing Centre for Detainees). He has been protesting the forced removal of opposition figures from the eastern part of the country.

State security agents arrested the correspondent for "Hablemos Press" on 25 May while he was covering a demonstration organised by dissidents in the capital. A week passed before the authorities gave any indication of where he was being held. He has since been put in solitary confinement.

The re-imprisonment of Calixto Ramón Martínez brings to 25 the number of journalists being detained in Cuban prisons. RSF notes however that two journalists, Iván Hernández Carrillo and José Luis García Paneque, are among six political prisoners who have been moved to jails closer to their families. These two men were arrested during the "Black Spring" of 2003, along with RSF correspondent Ricardo González Alfonso.

"This is an important step but it is not enough," said journalist Guillermo Fariñas, who had to be hospitalised as a result of a hunger strike he started last February to press for the release of political prisoners suffering ill health. RSF continues continue to demand the release of Cuban journalists imprisoned only for having done their job in defiance of official censorship.

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