CUBA: Health of jailed independent journalist worsens, says family

June 22, 2007

José Luis García Paneque, Libertad

The health of García Paneque, the imprisoned director of the independent news agency Libertad, deteriorated considerably over the prior two months, his wife Yamilé Llánez Labrada told CPJ. García Paneque is being held at Las Mangas Prison in Granma province.

Moralinda Paneque and José García, the journalist’s parents, visited him on June 22 and found that he had lost a considerable amount of weight, that he was having difficulty breathing, and that his skin had a yellow cast, Llánez Labrada said. García Paneque, who weighed 110 pounds most recently, also had a high fever on the day of the visit, his mother told the Miami-based human rights group Coalition of Cuban-American Women.

García Paneque, also a physician, told his parents that he has developed pneumonia in the right lung, according to Llánez Labrada. He added that three days prior to the visit, he collapsed from weakness while taking a shower. The journalist complained about extreme heat and lack of ventilation in the barracks where he is confined. Llánez Labrada told CPJ that her husband is not receiving medical treatment for his pneumonia.

García Paneque was diagnosed with a kidney tumor in early June. He had previously been diagnosed with internal bleeding and malnutrition.