UPDATED, Feb. 12, 2011 — Héctor Maseda was released from prison on Feb. 12, 2011.
HÉCTOR MASEDA: Prisoner of Consicence
Maseda's wife, Laura Pollan — the founder of the "Women in White," which is made up of wives and other family of imprisoned dissidents — said Sunday that Maseda is suffering from possibly precancerous skin warts. The condition has been aggravated by the intense sunlight Maseda is exposed to during the only time he is allowed outside, although prison officials have allowed him to wear a cap and long-sleeve shirt.
Maseda, 63, a former nuclear engineer, was arrested the night of March 18-19, 2003, as part of the "black spring" roundup of 75 dissidents.
The next month he was tried, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison "for undermining national independence and territorial integrity and for violating Law 88 (protection of national independence and economy)," according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
RSF said Maseda was accused of publishing articles on the CubaNet Web site and in German and Spanish magazines.
Like other imprisoned dissidents, Maseda has suffered a variety of health ailments while in prison.
For more on Maseda, go to Reporters Without Borders.
For more on Uncommon Sense's March 18 Project, including profiles of other independent journalists, in and out of prison, read here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Reporters Without Borders has an ongoing petition drive asking 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 independent journalists still on the island. A place to find their articles, in Spanish, English and French, is CubaNet.