In early 2007, Sánchez Madan was detained twice and warned to stop working for the independent press after he covered a local corruption scandal and social problems in western Matanzas province, where he lived. He was arrested in April 2007 and, after a one-day trial, Cuban authorities convicted him of “social dangerousness,” a vague charge contained in Article 72 of the penal code. The reporter was handed the maximum prison sentence of four years.
In 2009, the reporter was being held at the maximum-security Combinado del Sur Prison, outside the provincial capital of Matanzas, according to CPJ research. His neighbor, Juan Francisco Sigler, told CPJ that prison conditions were very poor. The reporter’s mother was allowed to visit once every 45 days, CPJ research shows.
Sánchez Madan continued to report on human rights violations from prison, Sigler said. Prison authorities threatened retaliation, saying they would do everything in their power to keep him jailed if he continued to write, Sigler told CPJ. On at least one occasion, inmates beat the journalist severely at the encouragement of authorities. As further retaliation, the reporter was sent to solitary confinement for weeks at a time, according to Sigler.