UPDATED, July 22, 2010 — Alfredo Pulido was released from prison in July 2010 under a deal between Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship.
Net for Cuba reports that imprisoned Cuban journalist Dr. Alfredo Pulido López's has significantly worsened and that he continues to lose weight.
Net for Cuba reports:
The prisoner of conscience told his wife that because of the serious illnesses from which he suffers, the authorities should have granted him a medical parole some time ago, and he added that they will not grant him release “because my convictions are firm, and I make them quite clear.” Dr. Pulido stated that he has no real reason to ask for a medical parole since he is an innocent man to begin with and what the Cuban authorities really have to give him is FREEDOM. He continued telling his wife, “I am more firm in my convictions every day. I am not going to renounce them. They (the prison authorities) know that my health is affected. They can do what they want.”
Pulido, 45, formerly a dentist, was arrested during the "black spring" crackdown on Cuban dissidents in March 2003.
The next month, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), he was tried under Article 91 of the criminal code, which provides for prison terms of 10-20 years or even the death penalty for the crimes of "endangering independence or the state's territorial integrity."
RSF details the "evidence" that was used against Pulido:
— Pulido was accused of writing "tendentious articles on various aspects of national and provincial life" for foreign press agencies and of having in his address book the phone numbers of the main international news agencies in Cuba, US congressmen, and Radio Martí, the US government radio station that beams programmes to Cuba.
— He was also accused of being in contact with officials in the press department of the US interests section in Havana and of taking receipt of a parcel worth 90 dollars on behalf of the relatives of detainees, "thereby hoping to ingratiate himself with a sector of the population."
— The 272 books in his library, considered "provocative and containing the worst lies," were confiscated at the moment of his arrest on 18 March, together with the equipment he used for his work (a short-wave radio and a small tape-recorder).
Not surprisingly, Pulido was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Pulido has suffered from poor health since being imprisoned. He also has gone on at least one hunger strike to protest how he was being treated by guards.
For more on Pulido, in Spanish, visit Payolibre.
For more on Uncommon Sense's March 18 Project, including profiles of other independent journalists, in and out of prison, read here.
To see pictures of all the imprisoned journalists, go here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Reporters Without Borders has an ongoing petition drive asking Fidel Castro to release independent journalists in prison. You can sign the petition here. (A technical note: Reporters Without Borders is based in Paris, so the confirmation e-mail you will receive after signing the petition will be in French. Just in case you don't read French, the confirmation e-mail asks you click on the link to complete the petition signature process. Castro won't receive your message until you click on the link.)
For more on the Cuban dissidents, including a chance to "adopt a dissident," see the Cuban American National Foundation's Web site.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is find and read the work of Cuba’s independent journalists. A place to find their articles, in Spanish, English and French, is CubaNet.