The U.S. Government is gratified to see independent journalist Roberto de Jesús Quiñones reunited with his family after a year of undue suffering as a prisoner of conscience in Cuba. However, we repeat our strong condemnation of his unjust imprisonment for the simple act of doing his job.
On August 7, 2019, the Cuban regime convicted Quiñones on dubious charges of resistance and disobedience and sentenced him to one year in a labor camp. His detention and trial were marked by the flagrant disregard for legal norms, which is typical of the Cuban regime. Cuban authorities did not inform Quiñones of the charges against him until minutes before the trial, and did not permit him legal representation in the courtroom. The regime’s prosecutors did not permit Quiñones to present evidence of his injuries at the hands of the police who arrested him. In March, he was denied parole.
It is disgraceful that the Cuban regime incarcerated a journalist whose only “crime” is working for a more transparent society. It is also unsurprising. The regime uses any excuse to silence its critics and to violate human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and to fair trial guarantees.
We call on our democratic partners across the globe to make respect for human rights a prerequisite for any dealings with Cuba.