(New York, NY) — After 40 days of detention, Cuban rapper Richard Adrián Zamora Brito, known as El Radikal, was released last Friday on bail. PEN America welcomes Zamora’s release and calls on Cuban authorities to vacate his sentence and to release all artists that have been unjustly imprisoned in recent months.

“Today we celebrate Zamora’s release from detention, although he still faces the charges he was arrested under. His only crime was to participate in peaceful demonstrations and exercise his freedom of expression,” said Julie Trébault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America. “As we denounce the unjust repression exercised by Cuban authorities against Zamora, we also call for the release of the countless other young creators, including artists, writers, musicians, and journalists who remain imprisoned or disappeared in Cuba.”

Zamora was arrested in his house by Cuban state security agents after participating in a series of major protests on July 11, otherwise known as the 11J protests. He was reportedly detained for 15 days in the police station of Colon, and then moved to the Combinado del Sur prison in the province of Matanzas. According to public reports, El Radikal was being investigated for the alleged crimes of “public disorder,” “robbery with force,” and “disturbance.”

Independent artists and intellectuals have been at the forefront of mass popular mobilizations for over a year in Cuba. The government has responded with systemic repression, including the arrests, detentions, or disappearances of an unprecedented number of artists, writers, and musicians. 

PEN America leads the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. ARC recently released A Safety Guide For Artists, a resource that offers practical strategies to help artists understand, navigate, and overcome risk, and features an interview with Cuban artist Tania Bruguera about the state of free expression on the island. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC.