Cuba releases ninth journalist


From New York—Imprisoned Cuban journalist Mijail Bárzaga Lugo was released from jail and flown today to Madrid, where he joined a group of eight of his colleagues freed and brought to Spain this week as part of an extensive release by the Cuban government, according to international press reports.

Bárzaga Lugo, who was arrested in March 2003, arrived in Madrid with his family on an Air Europe flight around 2 p.m. local time, Agence France-Presse reported. On arrival, the journalist was taken to a hotel in Madrid’s neighborhood of Vallecas, where he joined six colleagues released and sent to Spain on Tuesday, and another two who were freed and exiled on Wednesday, the press reports said.

“We are pleased that the protracted suffering of journalist Mijail Bárzaga Lugo and his family has come to an end,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s Americas program senior coordinator. “We urge Cuban authorities to provide accurate and timely information on the promised release of all the remaining imprisoned journalists.”

A reporter for the independent news agency Agencia Noticiosa Cubana before the arrest, Bárzaga was released as part of an agreement between the government of President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church in Cuba. The church announced last week that the Cuban government had agreed to free a total of 52 dissidents arrested in the March 2003 government crackdown on political dissent and independent journalism that came to be known as the Black Spring.

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