UPDATED, Oct. 22, 2010 — Rolando Jiménez was released from prison in October 2010 and forced into exile in Spain.
If the Cuban government releases all 52 political prisoners covered under its deal with Spain and the Catholic Church, one prisoner recognized by Amnesty International as a "prisoner of conscience" will remain in the Castro gulag.
His name is Rolando Jiménez Posada.
A lawyer, Jiménez has been imprisoned since shortly after the "black spring" crackdown of 2003, when the other prisoners who have been released or who are set to be released, were arrested. It was not until four years later, in April 2007, that the dictatorship formally sentenced him to 12 years in prison for "disrespecting" Fidel Castro and releasing secrets of the state security police.
A year after his arrest, Amnesty International had named Jiménez a "prisoner of conscience."
Rolando Jiménez Posada, aged 33, is a lawyer and Director of the Centro Democrático Pinero de Derechos Humanos, Pinos Democratic Human Rights Centre, in Isla de Pinos, which was created in July 2002. In January 2002 he was dismissed from his jobas legal adviser of a veterinary medicine company, reportedly due to his problems with state security.
He has been detained and threatened numerous times over the past few years. For example, according to reports, on 10 December 2001, while taking part in a peaceful celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he and several others were reportedly beaten and pushed into police vehicles and then dumped in remote areas of Isla de la Juventud.
On 12 June 2002, after taking part in a peaceful march calling for the release of political prisoners, he was temporarily detained and threatened with imprisonment if he continued carrying out opposition activities. On 31 July 2002 he was said to have been threatened at his home in Nueva Gerona, capital of Isla de la Juventud, after handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On 25 August 2002 he was again reportedly threatened at his home by State Security who told him that he would be imprisoned if he continued carrying out public activities in support of political prisoners.
Most recently, he was detained on 25 April 2003 when his home was searched by the Department of State Security and police officers. They reportedly confiscated printed materials, including a book containing addresses of anti-Castro exile groups. He was initially said to be held at the Ministry of the Interior headquarters in Nueva Gerona. An official there reportedly told his wife and mother of their four year old son that if she abandoned her husband, she would get economic help and a good job.
In June 2003 it was reported that Rolando Jiménez would be tried along with Rafael Millet Leyva at a court in Isla de la Juventud, charged with “propaganda enemiga”, “enemy propaganda”, “desacato”, “disrespect” and “espionaje”, “espionage”, allegedly for writing anti-government slogans on public buildings. However, as yet no formal charges have been made or a trial taken place.
Jiménez's wife, Lamasiel Gutierrez, did not abandon him, and in fact through her work as an independent journalist and activist, as been his most tireless advocate.
Others who have stepped him on Jiménez's behalf include Corriente Agramontista, a group of independent Cuban lawyers with members both on the island and in exile.