Cuba: Journalist removed from hospital

English PEN remains deeply concerned about the health of Cuban independent journalist Normando Hernández González, one of the many Cuban writers still detained today in violation of their right to freedom of expression following mass arrests in April 2003.

On 7 May 2008, Normando Hernández González was removed from the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital where he had been receiving essential medical treatment since September last year. According to our information, his wife has only been permitted to see him for five minutes since the transfer, and has expressed serious concerns for his well-being. He has now been returned to Kilo 7 prison, where he is reportedly being kept in solitary confinement and in very poor conditions despite his continuing need for urgent medical care. The reasons for his transfer, which occurred in secret, remain unknown, despite the fact that it has been only three months since the government of Raul Castro assured the Vatican that there would be ‘more openness’ in the treatment of dissidents and critics.

PEN is extremely concerned for the welfare of Hernández, particularly as he was previously brutalized and kept in appalling conditions at both Kilo 5 ½ Prison and Kilo 7 Prison prior to his transfer to hospital. He had lost 35 kilos since his arrest and has been diagnosed with several medical conditions including tuberculosis, lesions in his stomach and tumors in his gallbladder. There are serious concerns that he could die in detention.

PEN firmly believes that his conviction and continued detention are in violation of international human rights standards to which Cuba is party, particularly the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 19 (on the right to freedom of expression) and 5 (concerning torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment) and the Convention Against Torture.

Please send appeals:


– Demanding the immediate release of Normando Hernández González on humanitarian grounds in order to allow him access to the conditions and medical care necessary for his recovery.
– Requesting that in the longer term Hernández’ release should be made unconditional.

Appeals to:

Head of State and Government
Raúl Castro Ruz
La Habana, Cuba

Dr. Juan Escalona Reguera
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
San Rafael 3
La Habana, Cuba

General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolución
La Habana, Cuba

Sr. Felipe Pérez Roque
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Calzada No. 360
Vedado, La Habana, Cuba

It may be more effective, however, to send appeals via the Cuban Embassy in London:

His Excellency René J. Mujica Cantelar
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
167 High Holborn
London, WC1 6PA


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