New York, October 5, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest of three independent Cuban bloggers and calls for their immediate release. Yoani Sánchez, one of Cuba’s most prominent bloggers, was detained yesterday along with her husband, journalist Reinaldo Escobar, and blogger Agustín Díaz in the city of Bayamo, according to news reports.
“The arrest of these journalists clearly indicates that the Cuban government continues its practice of punishing independent reporting,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s Americas senior program coordinator. “Cuban authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sánchez, Escobar and Díaz and allow all Cuban reporters to report without fear of intimidation.”
The detained bloggers were reportedly en route to cover a trial, but the official reason for their arrest was not immediately known. A vibrant independent blogging community has emerged in Cuba in recent years, in defiance of severe legal, economic, and technological limitations, according to CPJ research. Sánchez has repeatedly been denied permission to travel abroad, and has suffered official harassment for her work. Despite fewer long-term detentions of journalists in recent years, Cuba continues to be the most repressive country for the press in the hemisphere and is one of the world’s most censored countries.