Strasbourg, 16 September 1998
Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, a Cuban dissident who is being held in a military hospital on the Caribbean island, has been nominated by European Liberals for this year's Sakharov Prize.
The prize is awarded annually by the European Parliament to individuals who champion the causes of free speech, human rights and civil liberties or the promotion of East-West relations on the continent. It commemorates the work of the Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov. Past winners include Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the Chinese activist Wei Jingsheng.
Marta Cabello is the founder and director of an organisation called Instituto de Economistas Independientes. She is a member of the Cuban human rights organisation called Dissidence Working Group.
However she was arrested in July last year after publishing, together with three other dissidents a document called The homeland belongs to us all which urged the Cuban government of veteran Marxist president Fidel Castro to end corruption, to liberalise the country's economy and to improve human rights.
She was arrested by the Cuban authorities while talking to international journalists but has never been formally charged or tried.
She was nominated by the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform group of the European Parliament in Strasbourg last night (Tuesday).
The Liberals nomination will be considered along with other parties' selections by the assembly's foreign affairs committee and finally by the Conference of Presidents.
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