Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca

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Cuban journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca is being held in pretrial detention in a maximum-security prison in Havana for alleged contempt of court and for sharing enemy propaganda. Valle was detained in June 2021, after reporting on prodemocracy leaflets thrown from a building in Havana.

Valle covers social and political affairs in Cuba on his YouTube channel, Delibera, which has about 7,600 subscribers.

On June 15, agents from the Cuban Revolutionary Police detained Valle when he presented himself at the Zapata y C police office in Havana, and then transferred him to Villa Marista, the headquarters of the political police, according to news reports

Authorities had summoned Valle to the police office to allegedly close a 2020 contempt investigation, according to those reports. In a statement, the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP), a local press freedom organization, alleged that authorities “misleadingly” issued that summons in order to detain him. 

The day before his arrest, Valle had published a video reporting on the throwing of the prodemocracy leaflets. 

Valle is being investigated for the crimes of contempt and sharing enemy propaganda, according to Normando Hernández, general manager of ICLEP, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app. If charged and convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison, according to Cuba’s penal code

No court date has been set in his case as of October 2021, according to Hernández.

While in prison, Valle experienced kidney problems in Villa Marista during the third week of June while he was on a hunger strike, according to a report by ICLEP. At that time, he was not transferred to the hospital and only received minimal care from a prison nurse, according that report, which said that as of July he continued to suffer from poor health in prison, including fever, headaches, significant loss of weight, skin fungus, and high blood pressure, and had no access to medication. 

CPJ emailed the National Revolutionary Police and the Ministry of the Interior for comment, but did not receive any responses.