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US Condemns Sentencing of Cuban Journalist

FILE - A man reads a Cuban newspaper in Havana, May 19, 2018.
FILE - A man reads a Cuban newspaper in Havana, May 19, 2018.

The Trump administration is calling on Cuba to drop criminal charges against a journalist facing a year in prison for “resistance” and “disobedience.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said Washington "strongly condemns'' the prosecution of Roberto Quinones. Pompeo said the detention and trial of Quinones showed "flagrant disregard for legal norms.''

According to media watchdog The Committee to Protect Journalists, Quinones was detained and beaten in April by Cuban police while covering a trial in Guantanamo for the website CubaNet.

He was released after five days in detention, but Cuban authorities initiated new proceedings against him, alleging that his conduct during detention constituted “resistance” and “disobedience,” for which they imposed a fine. When Quinones refused to pay the fine, he was ordered to serve a year in jail, the organization said.

CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney called the sentence "outrageous."

“If authorities in Cuba want to convey an image of progress and openness to the international community, mistreating, jailing and fining a journalist sends the wrong message,” he said.

Quinones is awaiting the results of an appeal.

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