2007: Cuba: Normando Hernández González

Head of State and Government
Raúl Castro Ruz
Presidente interino
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +53 7 8333085 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)/
+1 2127791697 (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: f_castro@cuba.gov.cu
cuba@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)

15 November 2007

Your Excellency

Normando Hernández González (38) is the youngest of the many journalists, writers and librarians arrested and imprisoned in a wider crackdown on dissidents in March 2003.

Hernández is serving a 25-year sentence for “endangering the state’s independence and territorial integrity” for criticising the government on Cubanet and Radio Martí . Poor prison conditions and maltreatment have led to numerous medical complaints and 2007 has brought a marked deterioration in his health.

The journalist has also claimed to have suffered abuse while in prison, including assaults by staff and being held with prisoners with acute psychiatric disorders, some of whom are extremely dangerous. This year alone he has reportedly been attacked by a prison guard, denied exercise and threatened by the head of the prison for refusing to shout a revolutionary slogan. He was transferred to a military hospital in September 2007. Hernández’ condition is now reported to be critical and there are fears for his life. The move has prompted hopes that Hernández may soon be released.

Norwegian PEN requests the immediate release of Normando Hernández González. We believe that his conviction and continued detention are clearly in violation of international human rights standards, particularly the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 19 and 5.

Confident that You, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I am,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W. Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Norwegien Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Representative of Cuba in Norway