Photo: Juliet Michelena Díaz
Reporters Without Borders on Thursday urged Cuban authorities to release an independent journalist arrested 10 days ago and to drop all charges in the case.
The “heavy-handed” arrest of Juliet Michelena Diaz came three days before Miami-based Cubanet published her report about police violence in Havana, the press freedom watchdog said in a statement.
Originally detained for allegedly threatening a neighbor, Michelena, a member of the Cuban Network of Community Journalists, was subsequently charged with terrorism, Reporters Without Borders said.
“We urge the authorities to free Michelena without delay and drop all charges against her,” Lucie Morillon, head of research at the Paris-based organization, said. “The decision to bring a more serious charge indicates a desire to silence her and put a stop to all her critical reporting.”
The Cuban government is holding three other journalists in addition to Michelena, according to Reporters Without Borders.
One of the three, Jose Antonio Torres, is a former reporter for Cuban Communist Party daily Granma sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Only 10 of 180 countries rank lower than Cuba in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.