April 24, 2024

Martí condemns targeting of contributor by Cuban officials

Martí condemns targeting of contributor by Cuban officials

Martí condemns targeting of contributor by Cuban officials

January 9, 2024

Today, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a Radio Martí contributor, and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, was arrested by Cuban authorities while leaving his home in Havana. Dr. Biscet is best known for his coverage of current events and human rights around the world and in Cuba, and his arrest coincides with the annual meeting of the Emilia Project, a project he founded to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba. Dr. Biscet was previously detained by Cuban officials exactly one year ago to date, just before the Emilia Project’s annual meeting in 2023.

Sylvia Rosabal, Director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, condemned Dr. Biscet’s detention in the strongest terms.

“The Cuban government’s targeting of Dr. Biscet — two years in a row, just before the Emilia Project’s annual meeting – is an obvious attempt to silence the pursuit of human rights in Cuba,” said Office of Cuba Broadcasting Director Sylvia Rosabal. “This violation by Cuban officials should be considered yet another warning to anyone who dares to express concern about the rights of all people. We stand with Dr. Biscet and his family, and call for his immediate release.”

Dr. Biscet was arrested at his home in Havana on the morning of January 9 and held without cause or explanation. Dr. Biscet has been imprisoned on several occasions and spent nearly a decade behind bars after being sentenced to 25 years in prison. Amnesty International declared Dr. Biscet a prisoner of conscience in 2003; he was released in 2011 due to international pressure.

Despite attempts from Cuban authorities to force him out, Dr. Biscet has refused to leave the island and has worked to expand the Emilia Project, a grassroots campaign to educate Cubans about human rights, non-violent civil disobedience, and topics associated with freedom and democracy.

Dr. Biscet received OCB’s David Burke Award for excellence in journalism in 2022, and was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

Update: OCB Director Sylvia Rosabal issued the following update on the evening of January 9, 2024: “Dr. Biscet has been released from custody and has since returned home. Mr. Biscet, his family and his colleagues are tremendously grateful for the efforts on his behalf.”

Originally published at https://www.usagm.gov/2024/01/09/marti-condemns-targeting-of-contributor-by-cuban-officials/