Oscar Espinosa Chepe

oscar espinosa chepeDob: c. 1942

Profession: Economist and journalist (Cubanet)

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 there was insufficient time for the accused to put together a cogent defence.

Sentence: 20 years. Sentenced under Articles 7 & 11 of Law 88 (“activities against the integrity and sovereignty of the State”) and Article 91.

Place of detention: Transferred in August 2004 to the hospital at the Combinado del Este prison, Havana, reportedly on account of the cyclone that ravaged the Cuban coast around that time.

Health concerns: Apparently suffering from a chronic kidney condition, a thoracic hernia, hypertension, weight loss and a possible liver disorder. Although transferred to Guantánamo Provincial Hospital shortly after being sentenced and from there moved to Ambrosio Grillo Hospital in Santiago de Cuba, he did not recieve adequate medical attention. Eventually returned to Boniato prison. On 7 August 2003, after becoming ill again, Espinosa Chepe was flown to the Finlay Military Hospital in Havana. Reported in March 2004 to be suffering from cancer.

Honorary Member: Netherlands PEN, Swedish PEN, English PEN

Released: Espinosa Chepe was released on 29 November 2004 under special permission issued due to health reasons. Although he is allowed home he remains under house arrest and his release is conditional; if he started working as a journalist again he would be re-arrested.

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/writersinexile/oscarespinosachepe/

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