BAYAMO, Cuba (Reuters) - Cuban authorities have arrested dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez in the eastern city of Bayamo where she traveled to cover the trial of a Spanish political activist facing vehicular homicide charges in the death of another government opponent, according to news reports and bloggers.
Sanchez, and husband Reinaldo Escobar, were said to have been detained on Thursday in Bayamo, where officials feared they were going to provoke a “media show” around the trial, according to the reports.
“It is not the first time that Yoani Sanchez and Escobar have tried similar provocations, and their latest maneuvers in the (Internet) have been, precisely, linked to manipulating the truth of that accident” in which Paya died, government-linked blogger Yohandry Fontana wrote on Friday.
Sanchez, 37, could not be reached by telephone, but her Twitter account includes entries from Thursday in which she recounted scenes from a cross-country trip, including two stops by police to fumigate her car, apparently for mosquitoes.
She, her husband and other dissidents apparently were on their way to Bayamo for the trial of Spaniard Angel Carromero, who is charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter for the July 22 death of prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya and his colleague Harold Cepero.
The newspaper El Pais in Madrid said on its website she was its freelance correspondent and had tried to reach Sanchez by phone without success.
Carromero, who heads the youth wing of Spain’s ruling People’s Party, was driving a small rental car with Paya, Cepero and Swedish political activist Jens Arons Modig aboard when he lost control on a section of road under repair and slammed into a tree near Bayamo, 415 miles southeast of Havana.
He and Modig, who were not seriously hurt, said they were driving the dissidents to meet supporters.
Sanchez, through her blog “Generation Y” and other writings, has become Cuba’s best-known dissident and has won various awards overseas, but is never allowed out of Cuba to collect them.
Sanchez was reported last week to have filed a complaint against Cuba with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission for repeatedly refusing to grant her a travel visa.
Reporting by Jeff Franks and Nelson Acosta, Editing by David Adams and Philip Barbara