José Luis García Paneque

DoB: 1965

Profession: journalist (Agencia Libertad press agency) and librarian (Carlos J Finlay Library)

Family details: Married, his wife and children fled to the USA in June 2007 due to harassment.

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: 24 years. Sentenced under Law 88 and Article 91

Place of detention: Las Mangas prison, Ganama, where he is reportedly allowed one family visit every 45 days.

Health concerns: Reported to have suffered from mental illness during his imprisonment. Transferred to the ward at the Prisión de Jóvenes in Villa Clara in or around July 2004 suffering from intestinal problems. Reportedly held in a psychiatric unit from November 2004 to November 2005. He also suffers from acute intestinal illness which has led to malnutrition, diarrhoea and excessive weight loss (his body weight has reportedly halved since his arrest in 2003).  In late 2007, he conracted pneumonia and was diagnosed with a kidney cyst. Although he was in need of surgery, there were fears that he was too weak, as he weighed just 50 kilos and there were acute concerns that his life was at risk. In January 2008, new information suggested that his health remains seriously deteriorated due to poor intestinal absorption, a condition for which he has not been given enough medial attention and proper diet. In the first part of 2009, his mother expressed concern about her son’s deteriorating state of health on several occasions, saying that he had lost a lot of weight as a result of stomach problems and diarrhoea.

Honorary member: English PEN

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/cuba/joseluisgarcapaneque/

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