Norwegian Freedom Award given to jailed Cuban

HAVANA, May 27 (CubaNet) – Imprisoned Independent journalist Normando Hernández has been awarded the Norwegian Writers Association’s annual “Freedom of Expression” award.

Hernández, who is in poor health, was among 75 dissidents arrested, tried and convicted in 2003 for their interaction with the United States. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his writings.

The writers association said this marked the first time since 1999 that the award has gone to a Latin American. The winner that year was Yehude Simon Munaro, Peru’s prime minister. Like Hernández, he was imprisoned at the time under the government of Alberto Fujimori.

The award carries a 100,000 kroner (US$15,646) prize.

Driver fined for picking up passengers

HAVANA, May 27 (Ana Aguililla / - Severo Luis Brito was fined 500 pesos, the equivalent of more than the average Cuban earns in a month, for what he said was free rides given to people as he drove on the Novia del Mediodía highway.

Brito was accused of illicitly charging his passengers. He was obliged to sign a warning notice.

“They told me I was illegally charging the passengers even though they explained that this was a friendly gesture of mine because of the shortage of transportation,” Brito said.