A prominent graffiti artist in Cuba who was jailed the day after Fidel Castro died for actions that appeared to celebrate the late Cuban leader’s passing, reportedly will be released on Jan. 28, his girlfriend told FoxNews.com
Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto,” has been transported to various jails since his arrest on Nov. 26. The 33-year-old dissident has not been charged with any crimes, those close to him say. He is being held in a maximum-security jail on the outskirts of Havana, according to Amnesty International, which has been monitoring Maldonado’s imprisonment and on Tuesday demanded his release.
His girlfriend, Alexandra Martinez, who lives in Miami, said she is hopeful but leery about news that Maldonado will be released. Martinez said Maldonado told her in a telephone call on Tuesday night that Cuban authorities told him they were freeing him on Jan. 28.
“We don’t know if this is just more psychological torture,” she said. “Last week, he called me screaming that they told him they were going to execute him. So it was shocking to hear yesterday that they are releasing him.”
Cuban authorities have accused Maldonado of damaging state property, though no formal charges have been pressed, according to those close to him as well as Cuban exile groups and international human rights organizations that have been tracking his situation.
Cuba-based news media reported that Maldonado had created graffiti on a wall in Havana that read: “He’s gone,” which was seen as a disrespectful act by Cuban authorities.
“He is a prisoner of conscience who must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Amnesty International in its Tuesday statement.
Amnesty International noted that it has been denied access to Cuban jails since 1988. It describes the jail that is housing Maldonado as a place “where convicted murderers and political prisoners being punished for their political views are traditionally held.”
Meanwhile, Martinez said she is looking toward Jan. 28.
“I fully expect and demand that they follow through” with the promise of release, she said.