Jorge Olivera Castillo

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Olivera Castillo, the Havana-based director of the independent news agency Havana Press, is one of 29 independent Cuban journalists who were detained in March in a massive government crackdown on the independent media and political opposition.

His one-day summary trial was held in early April behind closed doors. He was tried under Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba’s National Independence and Economy, which imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts “aimed at subverting the internal order of the Nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system.” On April 7, the Havana Provincial Tribunal announced he had been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The journalist remained imprisoned in the Havana headquarters of the State Security Department until April 24, when he was sent to Guantánamo Provincial Prison in eastern Guantánamo Province, hundreds of miles from his home. In June, the People’s Supreme Tribunal, Cuba’s highest court, dismissed his appeal for annulment (recurso de casación) and upheld his conviction.