Writers in prison - Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello

Writers in prison

Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello is an influential economist, author and director of the Institute of Independent Economists, whose health in a Cuban prison is now in grave danger. Arrested in March this year as part of Cuba's ongoing incarceration of independent journalists, Roque was initially threatened with a life sentence but this was reduced to 20 years at a hearing in May.

She was charged under law 88, which prohibits acting against the independence of the territorial integrity of the state. She was arrested while on hunger strike in support of people she considered political prisoners. Roque already suffers from rheumatism and has reportedly lost 30lbs since June due to health problems including vomiting and diarrhoea. On 23 July she was transferred to a hospital suffering from chest pains and nosebleeds brought on by high blood pressure. She was diagnosed as diabetic in August.

It is the second time this courageous author has served time for her writing. She was released in May 2000 after serving three years of a four-year sentence for her co-authorship of a document that urged the Cuban government to hold democratic elections, liberalise the economy and improve human rights. But when she returned home she found it empty; her belongings had been taken during her imprisonment.

Please send appeals to:

Ministerio del Interior

Plaza de la Revolucion

La Habana, Cuba;

or to any Cuban diplomatic representative accredited to other countries;

or to the:

Cuban Representation

c/o United Nations Mission

New York, NY 10016, US.