A police officer guards the entrance to a court in Havana, Cuba, on May 31, 2022. A Cuban court recently sentenced journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca to five years in prison. (AFP/Yamil Lage)

Cuban journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca sentenced to 5 years in prison

New York, August 1, 2022 — In response to a Cuban court’s July 28 decision sentencing Cuban journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca to five years in prison for “enemy propaganda and resistance,” the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:

“Cuban authorities have already unjustly held journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca behind bars for more than a year; now he faces years more in prison simply for sharing information,” said CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator, Natalie Southwick. “Valle’s sentencing is a clear sign that the Cuban government is back to its old playbook, using the extreme measure of jailing journalists to maintain its censorship regime.”

A judge at the People’s Provincial Court in Havana sentenced Valle to five years in prison for contempt and sharing enemy propaganda, according to news reports, a report by the local press freedom group the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP), and ICLEP general manager Normando Hernández, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

Valle has been held in pretrial detention since June 15, 2021, when he was arrested after police summoned him to allegedly close a 2020 contempt investigation; the day before his arrest, he had reported on prodemocracy leaflets thrown from a building in Havana for his YouTube channel Delibera. In June 2022, prosecutors requested a six-year sentence in his case.

Valle has suffered from multiple health conditions during his detention, including kidney problems while on hunger strike, according to CPJ research.