Profession: freelance journalist and member of the Asemblea para la Sociedad Civil (Civil Society Assembly)
Year of birth: 1964
Details of arrest: arrested as part of a crackdown on alleged dissidents that began on 18 March 2003 and in which around 80 people were detained.
Details of trial: one of 34 journalists, writers and librarians sentenced during the one-day trials held on 3/4 April 2003 under laws governing the protection of the Cuban state. The one-day court hearings were held behind closed doors and it is reported that there was insufficient time for the accused to put together a cogent defence.
Sentence: 20 years
Place of detention: El Guayabo
Health concerns: Llorente was reportedly ordered to spend 21 days in solitary confinement in August 2003 for having offended a state security official. Reported in January 2004 to be held in solitary confinement in reprisal for starting a hunger strike in protest at being held with common criminals, some of whom Prieto claimed were dangerous. Also reported to be suffering from high blood pressure. Reported in July 2004 that he was suffering from chronic emphysema. Apparently held a hunger strike for the last ten days of July in protest at being held alongside murderers and drug dealers; and began another on 11 August 2004 to back up his demand to be transferred to a prison nearer home in Isla de la Juventud. Reported in February 2005 to have been transferred to a punishment cell measuring 1.2x3m. It is not clear how long he was due to spend in this cell, or why he was moved to it. Reported in April 2005 to be suffering from emphysema, piles, constant backache and general tiredness. In May 2005, Prieto had a number of common criminals join him in his cramped cell, making it all but impossible to leave his bed. He stated that he was only allowed out in the sunlight twice a week. Reported in October 2005 that he was still in the punishment cell he had been moved to in February because he refuses to wear a prison uniform. Llorente’s refusal to wear the uniform is in protest at what he sees as the inhumane conditions at the prison. Apparently suffering from bronchitis. Transferred on 18 January 2006 from Kilo 8, Camaguey to El Guayabo Prison, where he reportedly spent a week in a punishment cell for refusing to eat food served on apparently filthy trays. Released from the punishment cell on 24 January.
In July 2007, Reporters Without Borders reported that Llorente was being held on Isla de la Juventud (his home area) but that the authorities there have been withholding the treatment he needs for ‘serious pulmonary complications’ since 10 June 2007. He was hospitalised in May suffering acute chest pains, back pains and low blood pressure, but was returned to prison before tests could be fully completed. In a public letter, Prieto’s sister Clara Loudres Prieto Llorente, claimed that her brother had been suffering from ear pain since 11 September 2007. Three days later, with face swollen, Prieto was finally checked by a doctor, who prescribed him antibiotics which he is allergic to, and so refused to take. On 11 December, Prieto’s cell was searched and his writings and poems taken away from him.
In March 2008, it was reported that Prieto was suffering from severe back pain and depression. According to the journalist, he was kept in solitary confinement with extremely poor prison conditions and has been given dirty water to drink. He was also reported to suffer from drepression. It was also reported that his niece was assaulted when she visited him in 2008.
On 3 February 2009 it was reported that he was being kept in solitary confinement and had been on hunger strike since 28 January in protestt against alleged harrassment by prison guards and State Security agents. As of 26 May, the harassment was reportedly ongoing, including assaults and searches. On 8 June, Prieto was reportedly sprayed with tear gas after staging a protest about prison conditions.
Interview: A telephone interview with the journalist in 2008 which focuses on his health is available here (content in Spanish).
Honorary member: English PEN
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/cuba/fabioprietollorente/