Bernardo Arevalo Padron

Profession: journalist and director of Linea Sur Press, an independent press agency based in Cienfuegos.

Date of Arrest: 14 August 1997

Sentence: 6 years, confirmed on appeal.

Expires: 15 November 2003 at 3:00 p.m.

Details of arrest: detained by State Security agents in Aguada de Pasajeros and released three days later to await trial.

Details of trial: it was initially believed that Arévalo Padrón (36) was to be charged with ‘defamation’ following articles considered insulting to government officials and President Castro himself. However at the trial he was charged and sentenced with ‘enemy propaganda’, an offence which carries longer penalties. On 1 April 2001, his application for conditional leave (all Cuban prisoners become eligible for this on serving half their sentence – Arévalo reached the half way point in October 2000) was turned down by the authorities on the grounds that he had not been sufficiently “politically re-educated”.

Place of detention: El Diamante prison in Rodas, Cienfuegos province.

Health Concerns: Suffers from high blood pressure and has had bronchitis In December 2002, Padrón was diagnosed with leptospirosis, a disease spread by rats.

Conditions of detention: held in a cell with criminal convicts. Since May 1999 Arévalo Padrón has been held in a forced labour camp with very poor levels of nutrition. Has written to complain of ill-treatment, poor food and insanitary conditions. *In August 2002, Padrón sent a letter in which he stated that he feared for his life because the prison authorities had threatened the denial of visitation rights to all prisoners if he continued to send information out of the prison. Such a move would incite reprisals from Padrón’s fellow inmates. Honorary member: Catalan, English, Peruvian and Canadian PEN.

Released: November 2003

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