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Two journalists still held after "Black Spring" journalist Iván Hernández's release

(RSF/IFEX) - Iván Hernández Carrillo, a correspondent for the small independent news agency Pátria, returned to his family home in Matanzas province on 19 February 2011 after eight years in jail. Sentenced to 25 years in prison during the March 2003 "Black Spring" crackdown on dissidents, he is the second of the "Black Spring" journalists to be allowed to stay in Cuba following their release.

The first was Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, who was freed nine days ago. All the others had to agree to go into exile in return for their release. Hernández has said he plans to resume working as an independent journalist.

Pedro Argüelles Morán is now the only "Black Spring" journalist still awaiting release. We hope he will be freed soon, like Albert Santiago Du Bouchet, an independent journalist who has been jailed since 2009. We are also still waiting to know the exact reasons for former Spanish producer and journalist Sebastián Martínez Ferrate's detention in Havana since 11 July 2010.

We welcome the fact that the government is finally turning the page on the "Black Spring," a harrowing chapter in Cuba's recent history, and we urge it to take this further by respecting the rights of all its citizens, bloggers and human rights activities, who are demanding more freedom of expression.

The repression must stop and the authorities must accept the principle of pluralism. Recent encouraging signs of an opening, including the unblocking of certain blogs and websites, will hopefully pave the way for a real debate between government and civil society.
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