Marta Beatriz Roque

Profession: author and economist

Details of arrest: Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello was 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: She was 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

Health concerns: Arrested whilst on hunger strike in support of people she considered political prisoners. Suffers from rheumatism and diabetes. It was reported on 9 June 2003 that shed had lost 30 lbs (13 kilos) in weight due to health problems including vomiting and diarrhoea. Roque was transferred to a hospital on 23 July 2003 suffering from chest pains and nose bleeds brought on by high blood pressure. Reported still to be in hospital in November 2003 suffering from a variety of ailments. In February 2004 Roque wrote a letter complaining that she was not receiving adequate medical attention at the Carlos J. Finlay military hospital and that she was in pain due to an untreated bacteria.

Previous imprisonment: has previously served time for her writing. She was released in May 2000 after serving three years of a four-year sentence for her co-authorship of a document which urged the Cuban government to hold democratic elections, liberalise the economy and improve human rights.

Honorary member: Finnish, Canadian and English PEN

Released: 22 July 2004 on health grounds

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