CUBA: Health of independent journalist in prison deteriorates

June 21, 2007

Normando Hernández González, Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey

The health of imprisoned journalist Hernández González, director of the Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey, worsened visibly between April and June, according to press reports and CPJ interviews.

His wife, Yaraí Reyes Marín, saw her husband on June 21 for the first time in two months, independent journalist Miriam Leiva told CPJ. Hernández González had lost weight and shook throughout the visit, according to press reports. The journalist told his wife that he has continuous dizzy spells, suffers from chronic diarrhea, and is unable to eat prison food. Reyes Marín told Leiva that her husband is so weak that a prison guard had to carry the bag with groceries that she brought for him.

Hernández González has been diagnosed with intestinal ailments that make it difficult to eat and, last month, suffered a bout of pneumonia, Reyes Marín told CPJ earlier in June. She added that her husband was being treated at the prison infirmary but had not been treated at a hospital this year.

Reyes Marín applied for a medical parole for her husband in 2006 but has not received a response from Cuban authorities, according to international press reports.