Freelance journalist Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez was arrested as part of a crackdown on alleged dissidents that began on 18 March 2003.
Gálvez was one of the 35 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. Gálvez was sentenced to 15 years in prison under Law 88.
A matter of months after his incarceration, it was reported in a letter dated 21 July 2003 that he had been diagnosed as suffering from severe cervical arthrosis, a degenerative disease of the joints. In March 2004, we learned that he had had to be transferred to the Celestino Hernández Robau hospital in Santa Clara as he was suffering from high blood pressure and kidney stones.
On 9 July 2004, after four months of post-operative recuperation, he was transferred back to prison, having reportedly been handcuffed and beaten by his ‘re-educator’ before being moved. On returning to the prison, Gálvez spent some time in a punishment cell. His wife, Beatriz del Carmen Pedroso, appealed for parole on medical grounds on behalf of her husband but this was turned down by the authorities. In August 2004, Gálvez was moved from Santa Clara Provincial Prison, Villa Clara, to Combinado del Este Prison.
On 14 September 2007 Gálvez was reportedly transferred to the military hospital at Combinado del Este prison. He is said to have developed serious respiratory problems while in prison. In 2008, it was reported that he remained ill at Combinado del Este prison where he was only allowed to see his family once a month.
English PEN remain deeply concerned for the well-being of our Honorary Member Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez. As such we are continuing to call for his immediate and unconditional release. At a minimum, we urge the Cuban authorities to ensure that immediate improvements are made to his prison conditions, including full access to visitors and medical treatment.
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/campaigns/cubacampaign/honorarymemberjuliocsarglvezrodrguez/