Prisoner of the month July 2004 Raul Rivero

Cuba took advantage of the war in Iraq and, as the world looked elsewhere, sentenced 75 dissidents to a total of 1,500 years in prison. Amongst them was Raul Rivero Castañeda, poet, journalist and founder of the independent news agency, Cuba Press. His international reputation gathered momentum when in 1991 he, with 9 others, called on Castro to free prisoners of conscience and reform the socialist regime.

He is now the only one still left in Cuba for, having been refused temporary exit visas, he declined the offer to leave for good. Charged with crimes against the state, he was given a 20 year prison sentence in a one-day trial with insufficient time to put together a defence. He is 57 years old and not expected to survive prison conditions.

Rivero is honorary member of Finnish, Canadian and English PEN.

Please send letters of protest to:

His Excellency Jose Fernandez de Cossio

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

167 High Holborn

London WC1 6PA

Fax: 020 7836 2602

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