The editor of an independent news agency, the Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey, Normando Hernández González, is serving a 25 year sentence for “crimes against state security.” Hopefully, this international attention will help secure better conditions or a medical release for him.
HAVANA — (AP) — Imprisoned independent journalist Normando Hernandez Gonzalez has won the 2007 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, the writers group announced Tuesday in New York.
The annual prize honors writers who have been persecuted or jailed for engaging in or defending freedom of expression. It is underwritten by writer and historian Barbara Goldsmith, a PEN trustee.
The award will be presented at PEN’s annual New York gala on April 30.
Hernandez Gonzalez, 38, was among 75 independent journalists, rights activists and other critics of the Cuban government arrested in a March 2003 crackdown on the island’s opposition.
Sixteen people in the group have since been released on medical parole, leaving 59 — including Hernandez Gonzalez — behind bars.
Communist authorities tried the group on charges of working with the U.S. government to undermine Fidel Castro’s government — accusations the dissidents and American officials denied.
All were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. Hernandez Gonzalez, who directed a group of independent journalists in the eastern province of Camaguey, got 25 years.