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Cuban Journalist Ends Hunger Strike

UN body asked to look at continued arbitrary detention of Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias.
By Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez
  • Poster in support of  Calixto Ramón Martínez Árias.
    Poster in support of Calixto Ramón Martínez Árias.

Detained Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias has abandoned his 33-day hunger strike. 

Martínez Arias informed Hablemos Press Agency, CIHPRESS, of his decision by phone on December 13. He had refused to eat since November 10, in protest against conditions in the prison where he is being held. He has been detained since mid-September on charges of insulting Cuba’s past and present leaders, Fidel and Raúl Castro. (See Cuban Journalist Pressured to End Hunger Strike and Cuban Journalist Faces Charge of Insulting Castros for background.).

Martínez Arias, who is a correspondent for CIHPRESS, told the Havana-based news agency that several family members came to the Cominado del Este jail to ask him to end his hunger strike. The phone call was cut just as he was about to outline the reasons for his decision.

His current state of health is not known, nor is it clear whether he is getting medical attention.

On December 12, the Corriente Martiana civil society group, together with CIHPRESS, emailed a submission on Martínez Arias’s case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, WGAD, and to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

WGAD was created by the UN Human Rights Commission in 1991, and is the only mechanism that allows individuals in any part of the world to make direct petitions to the United Nations.

Earlier this month, WGAD declared that Cuba’s detention of United States national Alan Gross, sentenced to 15 years, was in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which President Raúl Castro signed in 2008.

Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez is an independent journalist and founder of the Hablemos Press news agency in Cuba.

This article first appeared on IWPR's website.