Cuban independent journalist has been sentenced to 4 years in prison, on a charge of being a "pre-criminal social danger," an Orwellian law the dictatorship uses to silence its critics and other troublemakers.
In Sanchez's case, it means he must have been doing his job as a journalist too well.
According to news reports, Sanchez, 44, who filed stories for CubaNet and other outlets, was arrested Friday, and shortly afterwards convicted and sentenced by a judge.
The dictatorship is nothing but efficient, when it comes to silencing its critics.
News of Sanchez's imprisonment was released Tuesday.
The secret police had its eye on Sanchez for a while. In early March, independent journalist Roberto Santana Rodríguez filed this report for CubaNet:
HAVANA, Cuba -March 1 (Roberto Santana Rodríguez / www.cubanet.org) - Independent journalist Oscar Sánchez said police in Matanzas picked him up February 25, took him to the station, and confiscated papers he had on him for the story he was working on.
Sánchez called the incident a reprisal by the Department of State Security for recent articles he had written about social problems in Matanzas, most prominently on alcoholism, AIDS, drug-addiction, and corruption by a government official in the town of Pedro Betancourt.
Sánchez said several officers questioned him while he was detained. They asked him whether he is an independent journalist, what is independent journalism, and whether he had studied journalism and how much he is paid.
The Cuban government licenses journalists and does not consider the independents to be journalists.
By my count, Sanchez becomes the 31st independent journalist imprisoned in the gulag — and at least the fourth since acting dictator Raúl Castro assumed his "temporary" powers on July 31.
To read about the others, click on the names to the left, under "March 18 Project."
UPDATED, 12:53 a.m. EDT
Independent journalist Tania Maceda Guerra reports that Sanchez, also the spokesman for the Alternative Option Independent Movement, was tried and convicted, without a defense lawyer or his family present. A police official informed his mother about what had happened, but she was not permitted to speak with her son, according to Maceda's story.
UPDATED, April 11, 2010
Oscar Sánchez was released from prison April 11, 2010.