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Cuba: Prisoners of conscience report from Amnesty International

Posted March 18, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Amnesty.org

Introduction

In March 2003, the Cuban government carried out the most severe crackdown on the dissident movement since the years following the 1959 revolution. Scores of dissidents were detained, seventy five of whom were subjected to summary trials and quickly sentenced to prison terms ranging from 26 months to 28 years. This crackdown came as a surprise to many observers who believed that Cuba might be moving towards a more open and tolerant approach towards opponents of the regime: the number of prisoners of conscience had declined and had been superseded by short term detentions, interrogations, summonses, threats, intimidation, eviction, loss of employment, restrictions on travel, house searches or physical or verbal acts of aggression. In addition, in April 2000 the Cuban Government began implementing a de facto moratorium on executions, which was broken in April 2003 with the execution of three men convicted of hijacking a tugboat to leave the island, in which no one was harmed.

The events of March/April 2003 signalled a step backwards for Cuba in terms of respect for human rights. The authorities tried to justify the crackdown by citing provocation and aggression from the United States. Amnesty International declared the 75 convicted dissidents to be prisoners of conscience(1) and called for their immediate and unconditional release, since the conduct for which dissidents were prosecuted was non-violent and fell within the parameters of the legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms as guaranteed under international standards.

Moreover, Amnesty International believes the charges are politically motivated and disproportionate to the alleged offences.

The charges brought against those arrested in the 2003 crackdown were not those commonly used to suppress dissent, such as “propaganda enemiga”, “enemy propaganda”, “desacato”, “disrespect”, or “desordenes públicos”, “public disorder.” Rather, the emphasis was on offences carrying higher penalties under the Cuban Penal Code. Most of the dissidents were charged under either Article 91 of the Penal Code or Law 88, or both. Article 91 provides for sentences of ten to 20 years or death for anyone who “in the interest of a foreign state, carries out an act which has the objective of harming the independence of the Cuban state or its territorial integrity”. Law 88, which was passed into Cuban legislation in February 1999 but had not yet been put into practice, provides lengthy prison terms for those found guilty of supporting United States policy on Cuba aimed at “disrupting internal order, de-stabilising the country and destroying the Socialist State and the independence of Cuba”.

According to the trial documents available, the evidence on which the March 2003 prosecutions were brought and the sentences confirmed included:

publishing articles or giving interviews, in US-funded or other media, said to be critical of economic, social or human rights matters in Cuba;
communicating with international human rights organisations;
having contact with entities or individuals viewed as hostile to Cuba’s interests, including US officials in Cuba, or members of the Cuban exile community in the United States or Europe;
distributing or possessing material such as radios, battery chargers, video equipment or publications, from the US Interests Section in Havana(2);
being involved in groups which are not officially recognised by the Cuban authorities or which are accused of conducting counterrevolutionary activity, including among others: unofficial trade unions; professional associations such as doctors’ and teachers’ associations; academic institutions; press associations or independent libraries.

In 2003, the Cuban government claimed that the above mentioned activities threatened national security and therefore warranted prosecution. Amnesty International believes the activities constitute legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, assembly and association. In Cuba these freedoms are severely limited in law and in practice. Those who attempt to express views or organize meetings or form organizations that contradict government policy and/or the aims of the state are likely to be subjected to punitive measures such as imprisonment, loss of employment, harassment or intimidation.

The right to a fair trial is also limited in Cuba, with courts and prosecutors under government control. Cuba’s National Assembly elects the President, Vice-President and the other judges of the Peoples’ Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. In addition, all courts are subordinate to the National Assembly and the Council of State, raising concerns with regard to internationally recognised standards for fair trial and the right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.(3) The right of dissidents to a fair and proper defence is also unlikely as lawyers are employed by the Cuban government and as such may be reluctant to challenge prosecutors or evidence presented by the state intelligence services.

At the dissident trials in April 2003 some attorneys were reportedly denied access to the defendant or only given access five minutes before the trial and were thus unable to prepare their defence, and in some cases the right to choose a defence lawyer was completely denied. Although some family members and others were allowed to attend, foreign diplomats and some journalists were barred from entering.(4)

During the last year, Amnesty International has received reports that some of the prisoners of the 2003 crackdown have been treated with particular severity, for example held in harsh prison conditions, many in locations far from their home towns, and some have reportedly been ill-treated.

During 2004 and early 2005 a total of 19 prisoners of conscience were released, 14 of whom were only granted “licencia extrapenal”, “conditional release” permitting them to carry out the rest of their sentences outside prison for health reasons, in the knowledge they could be detained again. Also, the Cuban government eased the conditions of some prisoners of conscience by moving them to locations nearer to their homes and by giving all but two medical check ups.

Two years on since the March 2003 crackdown, in spite of the releases and limited improvements, the total number of prisoners declared by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience is 71, which includes two new cases. There have also been some reports of ill-treatment by prison guards. Over a dozen prisoners are still being held in prisons which are at the other end of the island from their home town, thus making family visits very difficult.

The organization is calling on the Cuban Government to liberate all prisoners of conscience currently detained in Cuba, to provide adequate medical care to all prisoners of conscience, to initiate independent and impartial inquiries into the reports of ill-treatment described in this document, and to make the results public. Prison officials alleged to be implicated in cases of ill-treatment, or deliberately inflicting cruel and degrading treatment on prisoners should be suspended pending investigation and those found responsible brought to justice.

Prisoners of conscience released conditionally

Nineteen prisoners of conscience have been released since June 2004. Amnesty International welcomes these releases but renews its call for the Cuban government to unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and to cease detaining Cuban citizens for the peaceful exercise of their fundamental freedoms.

Four of those released had been in pre-trial detention for more than two years. Leonardo Bruzon Ávila, Alberto Domínguez González, Emilio Leyva Perez and Lázaro Miguel Rodriguez Capote were released on 8 June 2004 following their arrest in February 2002. Miguel Sigler Amaya was released on 12 January 2005 after he nearly completed a sentence of two years and two months.

In 2004 and early 2005, 14 of the 75 dissidents arrested in the 2003 crackdown were granted “licencia extrapenal”, conditional release, for medical concerns. The prisoners of conscience released were:

Osvaldo Alfonso Valdes, released on 30 November 2004
Margarito Broche Espinosa, released on 29 November 2004
Juan Roberto de Miranda Hernández, released on 23 June 2004
Carmelo Agustín Díaz Fernández, released on 18 June 2004
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, released on 29 November 2004
Orlando Fundora Alvárez, released on 18 June 2004
Edel Jose García Díaz, released on 2 December 2004
Marcelo Manuel Lopez Bañobre, released on 29 November 2004
Jorge Olivera Castillo, released on 6 December 2004
Raúl Rivero Castañeda, released on 30 November 2004
Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, released on 22 July 2004
Julio Antonio Valdes Guevara, released on 14 April 2004
Miguel Valdes Tamayo, released on 9 June 2004
Manuel Vázquez Portal, released on 23 June 2004

Two new prisoners of conscience

In addition to the remaining 69 prisoners of conscience known to Amnesty International, the organization is now declaring two new prisoners of conscience, in the belief that these two individuals have been detained solely for their peaceful attempts to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Raúl Arencibia Fajardo, 41
Sentence: 3 years
Date of arrest: 6 December 2002
Home town: Havana city
Prison: 1580 Prison, Havana province
Raúl Arencibia Fajardo is a member of Fundacion Lawton de Derechos Humanos, Lawton Foundation for Human Rights(5), and the Club de Amigos de los Derechos Humanos, Human Rights’ Friends Club. He is also a delegate of the unofficial political group Movimiento 24 de Febrero, 24 February Movement.
Raúl Arencibia Fajardo was arrested on 6 December 2002 at his home when he was meeting with Oscar Elías Biscet(6) and Virgilio Marante Guelmes. He was released after three months, but was still awaiting trial. Apparently his trial was postponed on three occasions. Finally, on 18 May 2004, Raúl Arenciba Fajardo was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for “public disorder”, “disrespect” and “resistance”. He is reportedly being held in 1580 Prison, in San Miguel del Padron municipality, in Havana City.

Virgilio Marante Guelmes, age unknown
Sentence: 3 years
Date of arrest: 6 December 2002
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Melena 2 Prison, Havana province
Virgilio Marante Guelmes is a delegate of the unofficial political group Movimiento 24 de Febrero, 24 February Movement, in Güines, south Havana. He was arrested on 6 December 2002 along with Oscar Elías Biscet and Raúl Arenciba Fajardo. He was sent to Valle Grande Prison in Havana. On 7 March 2003, he was released pending trial. According to reports, security officers detained him temporarily on 19 May 2003 for interrogation. During the interrogation he was told to abandon his activities with the Movimiento 24 de Febrero and restrictions were imposed on him regarding visiting prisoners’ family members. On 18 May 2004, Virgilio Marante Guelmes was brought to trial and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on charges of “disobedience, public disorder and resistance” and transferred to Melena 2 prison where he is now held.

Amnesty International is also investigating seven additional cases involving dissidents reportedly arrested over the last three years. The organisation is gathering information on their activities, the circumstances of their arrest and their current legal status, in order to determine if they too should be considered prisoners of conscience.

Treatment of prisoners of conscience

This section outlines Amnesty International’s current concerns regarding the treatment of prisoners of conscience whilst held in detention in the Cuban state prison system. Over the last year, Amnesty International has received reports of ill-treatment, reports of harsh conditions in solitary confinement which it believes amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and reports that some prisoners are being punished by having visits, communications or medical attention arbitrary restricted or withheld.

Cases of ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience

Over the last year, Amnesty International has received reports that some prisoners of conscience have been beaten by prison guards.

Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, serving a sentence of 20 years in Kilo 8 Prison, Camagüey Province, was reportedly beaten on 13 October 2004 by a group of guards while handcuffed. The guards reportedly stamped on his neck which caused him to pass out. He went on hunger strike in protest.

In another case reported to Amnesty International, a police officer at La Bamba Correctional Centre grabbed Nestor Rodríguez Lobaina from behind, hit him on the head and pushed him to the ground when he was saying goodbye to a visitor in November 2004. Two other prison officers then reportedly held him down and beat him while he was handcuffed. He was then held for four days at barracks in Baracoa. He is now reportedly being held in Paso de Cuba Prison in Baracoa municipality. According to reports, proceedings to charge Nestor Rodríguez Lobaina with “resistance” and “disrespect” have been opened against him.

On 14 September 2004 Arnaldo Ramos Lauzerique was reportedly beaten at Holguín Provincial Prison. During a search, the prison guards took some papers and his personal diary from him. When he protested, they reportedly took him out of the cell, threw him to the floor and beat him, causing back pain for several days. On 18 September he was also reportedly pulled out of the shower and threatened with being beaten again.

In October 2004, Luis Enrique Ferrer García, the youngest of the 75 dissidents arrested in March 2003, was reportedly stripped and beaten by prison guards and officials in the Youth Prison of Santa Clara.

Amnesty International is not aware of any investigation having been carried out into these recent reports of ill-treatment. International human rights standards require that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment be investigated. Article 9 of the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment requires that such investigations be conducted even if there is no complaint from the victim or their relatives.

Amnesty International recognizes that the prison authorities have a responsibility to maintain discipline and order in penal establishments in order to protect themselves and others and are required to enforce appropriate rules and regulations. Any measures taken to punish breaches of discipline should nevertheless conform to international standards including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Cuba ratified in 1995(7) (see below) and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners:

Solitary confinement and punishment cells

In Cuba, infractions of internal prison rules may be punished with lengthy periods in solitary confinement, sometimes in celdas tapiadas, “walled-in cells”. Reports suggest that detention conditions in these cells amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment: these cells are said to be very small (2 x 1 m) with no light and no furniture; they lack sanitary provisions including drinking water, and are often infested with rats, mice and cockroaches; the prisoners are not allowed out, not allowed visitors and are not allowed to take exercise and sometimes are not permitted to wear any clothing nor given any bedding,.

Amnesty International believes no prisoner should be confined long-term in conditions of isolation and reduced sensory stimulation, and that conditions of detention should conform to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and other international human rights standards. Amnesty International believes that if solitary confinement is used, strict limits should be imposed on the practice, including regular and adequate medical supervision by a doctor. Amnesty International believes that long-term solitary confinement, the reduced sensory stimulation which can result from solitary confinement and the confinement cells’ conditions under which Cuban prisoners are held, amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Under Rule 31, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that:
“Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences.”

During the year 2004, at least nine prisoners were reported to have been held continuously in walled-in cells for periods between two and four months. Normando Hernández González was held in a punishment cell for four months as a punitive measure after ending a 17-day hunger strike to protest against his forcible relocation with common criminals at Kilo 5 ½ Prison. Similarly, Nelson Moline Espino was confined to a punishment cell for 60 days at Kilo 8 Prison for refusing to eat the prison food.
In July 2004 Oscar Elías Biscet González was put in an isolation cell where he remained for three months. He has reportedly been withheld family visits, phone calls, correspondence, literature and sunlight on numerous occasions during the year 2004.

Location of detention

Amnesty International has previously raised concerns regarding the practice of incarcerating prisoners in compounds located at great distances from their home towns. This practice is in contravention of Principle 20 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment(8) :
“If a detained or imprisoned person so requests, he shall if possible be kept in a place of detention or imprisonment reasonably near his usual place of residence.”

Amnesty International fears that imprisoning prisoners of conscience far from their home town may be intended as an extra penalty imposed on the prisoners and their families. However, during the second half of 2004, Cuban authorities relocated some of the prisoners listed in this report to detention centres nearer their homes. Approximately one third of the prisoners of conscience arrested in the 2003 crackdown have been relocated to prisons within the province of their home towns, alleviating the relatives’ burden of travelling long distances.

Current cases of concern to Amnesty International include, the Sigler Amaya brothers who are both imprisoned at prisons far from each other. Also, Victor Rolando Arroyo Cardoma is imprisoned in Guantánamo province, more than a thousand kilometres from his home town in Pinar del Río province. Those prisoners of conscience held in prisons located more than 500 km from their home towns are Antonio Ramon Díaz Sánchez, Juan Adolfo Fernández Sainz, Jose Daniel Ferrer García, Ivan Hernández Carrillo, Normando Hernández González. Other prisoners of conscience that are also far from their respective home towns are Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, Jose Luis García Paneque, Ricardo Severino González Alfonso, Luis Milan Fernández, Felix Navarro Rodríguez, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Jose Gabriel Ramon Castillo and Arnaldo Ramos Lauzerique.

Contact and communication with family members

A basic norm outlined in the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons Under Any Form or Detention or Imprisonment is the right of any prisoner to communicate with the outside world, particularly with members of his/her family. However, it has been reported that telephone communications, visits and correspondence are sometimes arbitrarily restricted or withheld from prisoners, for example, if they complain about prison conditions or their treatment.

Principle 19
“A detained or imprisoned person shall have the right to be visited by and to correspond with, in particular, members of his family and shall be given adequate opportunity to communicate with the outside world, subject to reasonable conditions and restrictions as specified by law or lawful regulations.”

Principle 15
“Notwithstanding the exceptions contained in principle 16, paragraph 4, and principle 18, paragraph 3, communication of the detained or imprisoned person with the outside world, and in particular his family or counsel, shall not be denied for more than a matter of days”.

Currently, visits to prisoners of conscience are reportedly granted on a normal basis once every three to four months. During 2004, it has been reported that visits, correspondence and telephone communication have sometimes been suspended for an undetermined period of time when prisoners’ family members make statements in the local or international press or to human rights organizations regarding the treatment of their relative in detention. Although visits are announced officially, it has been reported that in several cases, visitors have been refused permission to see their relatives in spite of having travelled many miles or have had to wait long hours before the visit is allowed.

Access to reading material, including the Bible or religious calendars, is reported to be restricted for most prisoners of conscience.

Lack of medical attention

During most of last year, Amnesty International was concerned at reports that several prisoners of conscience in Cuba did not receive adequate medical care. Many prisoners of conscience were said to be suffering from poor health which could be aggravated while in detention. Some detainees were often given little more than cursory medical examinations and in a number of cases prison officials have reportedly refused to comply with inmates’ repeated requests for medical attention. However, in December 2004 all but two of the prisoners of conscience arrested in the 2003 crackdown were granted medical check ups at prison hospitals in Havana.

Amnesty International recognizes that the imposition by the United States of a trade embargo undermines Cuba’s ability to provide appropriate nutrition and proper medical care to prisoners. However, it has also been reported that in some cases where the prisoners’ relatives provided medicines, these were withheld by prison authorities without any reasonable motive. Amnesty International believes that withholding medical attention may constitute a form of punishment against some prisoners of conscience on account of their political views. The organization urges the Cuban government to take measures to ensure that detainees have access to the medical treatment and medicines they require in accordance with Rule 22 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR):

Rule 22
“(1) At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified medical officer who should have some knowledge of psychiatry. The medical services should be organized in close relationship to the general health administration of the community or nation. They shall include a psychiatric service for the diagnosis and, in proper cases, the treatment of states of mental abnormality.

(2) Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.”

The lack of adequate medical attention in places of detention is in direct contravention of both international human rights standards and national legislation. Principle 24 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment notes:
“A proper medical examination shall be offered to a detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible after his admission to a place of detention or imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and treatment shall be provided whenever necessary. This care and treatment shall be provided free of charge.”

Principle 25
(1) The medical officer shall have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and should daily see all sick prisoners, all who complain of illness, and any prisoner to whom his attention is specially directed.
(2) The medical officer shall report to the director whenever he considers that a prisoner’s physical or mental health has been or will be injuriously affected by continued imprisonment or by any condition of imprisonment.

Principle One of the UN Principles of Medical Ethics relating to the care of prisoners and detainees also states:
“Health personnel, particularly physicians, charged with the medical care of prisoners and detainees have the duty to provide them with protection of their physical and mental health and treatment of disease of the same quality and standard as is afforded to those who are not imprisoned or detained.”

Recommendations to the Cuban government

Amnesty International calls on the Cuban government:
to order the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience;
to ensure that an independent and impartial inquiry is held into allegations of ill-treatment by prison guards and, that the officials implicated in these allegations are immediately suspended from duty and those responsible brought to justice;
to transfer all prisoners of conscience to prisons closer to their families’ homes, especially those suffering from illness;
to fully implement the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;
to provide full judicial guarantees to ensure that, in accordance with international human rights standards, all detainees have access to a fair trial, including access to a lawyer;
to suspend Law 88 and other similar legislation that facilitates the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience by unlawfully restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms;
to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

Appendix: 71 prisoners of conscience

1. Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, 59
Sentence: 13 years
Date of arrest: 20 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

2. Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos, 57
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Hospital of Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

3. Raúl Arencibia Fajardo, 41
Sentence: 3 years
Date of arrest: 6 December 2002
Home town: Havana city
Prison: 1580 Prison, Havana province

4. Pedro Argüelles Morán, 56
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: March 2003
Home town: Ciego de Avila city
Prison: Nieves Morejon Provincial Prison, Sancti Spiritus.


5. Víctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, 53
Sentence: 26 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Pinar del Río
Prison: Guantánamo Provincial Prison, Guantánamo

6. Mijail Barzaga Lugo, 36
Sentence: 15 years
Date of arrest: 20 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Aguïca Prison, Matanzas province

7. Oscar Elías Biscet González, 43
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 6 December 2002
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

8. Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, 38
Sentence: 18 years
Date of arrest: 25 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Ariza Provincial Prison, Cienfuegos province

9. Francisco Chaviano González, 52
Sentence: 15 years
Date of arrest: 7 May 1994
Home town: Havana
Prison: Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

10. Rafael Corrales Alonso, 36
Sentence: 5 years
Date of arrest: 28 February 2002
Home town: Havana City
Prison: Valle Grande Prison, Havana

11. Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, 51
Sentence: 21 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Pinar del Río
Prison: Kilo 5½ Prison, Camagüey province

12. Antonio Ramon Díaz Sánchez, 41
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Holguín Provincial Prison (Cuba Sí)

13. Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista, 43
Sentence: 14 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Puerto Padre, Las Tunas
Prison: Holguín Provincial Prison (Cuba Sí)


14. Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, 55
Sentence: 26 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Artemisa, Havana province
Prison: Guamajal Prison, Santa Clara, Villa Clara province.

15. Efren Fernández Fernández, 54
Sentence: 12 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Guanajay Prison, Havana province

16. Juan Adolfo Fernández Sainz, 56
Sentence: 14 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Holguín Provincial Prison (Cuba Sí)

17. Jose Daniel Ferrer García, 33
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Santiago de Cuba
Prison: Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

18. Luis Enrique Ferrer García, 30
Sentence: 28 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Puerto Padre, Las Tunas province
Prison: Carlos J. Finlay Hospital, Havana

19. Prospero Gaínza Agüero, 47
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Moa, Holguín province
Prison: Boniato Provincial Prison, Santiago de Cuba province

20. Miguel Galván Gutierrez, 39
Sentence: 26 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Guines, Havana province
Prison: Agüica prison, municipality of Colon, Matanzas province

21. Julio Cesar Gálvez Rodríguez, 59
Sentence: 15 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

22. Jose Luis García Paneque, 39
Sentence: 24 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Las Tunas
Prison: Hospital of Combinado del Este Prison, Havana


23. Ricardo Severino González Alfonso, 53
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Kilo 8 Provincial Prison, Camagüey province

24. Diosdado González Marrero, 42
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: El Roque, Perico, Matanzas province
Prison: Kilo 5½ Prison, Pinar del Río province

25. Lester González Penton, 26
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Santa Clara city
Prison: Carlos J. Finlay Hospital, Havana

26. Alejandro González Raga, 46
Sentence: 14 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Camagüey
Prison: Kilo 7 Prison, Camagüey province

27. Jorge Luis González Tanquero, 33
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Las Tunas province
Prison: Las Mangas, Granma province

28. Leonel Grave de Peralta Almenares, 27
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Juan Antonio Mella, Santiago de Cuba province
Prison: Ciego de Avila Provincial Prison (known as “Canaleta”)

29. Iván Hernández Carrillo, 33
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Colon, Matanzas province
Prison: Holguín Provincial Prison (Cuba Sí)

30. Normando Hernández González, 35
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 24 March 2003
Home town: Vertientes, Camagüey province
Prison: Abel Santamaría Hospital, Pinar del Río province

31. Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, 38
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Guantánamo
Prison: Kilo 8 Prison, Camagüey province


32. Regis Iglesias Ramírez, 34
Sentence: 18 years
Date of arrest: 21 March 2003
Home town: Havana
Prison: Combinado del Este, Havana province

33. Jose Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, 37
Sentence: 6 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Güines, Havana province
Prison: Guanajay Prison, Havana province

34. Rolando Jimenez Posada, 33
Sentence: awaiting trial
Date of arrest: 25 April 2003
Home town: Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud
Prison: Guayabo Prison, Isla de la Juventud

35. Reinaldo Miguel Labrada Peña, 41
Sentence: 6 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Las Tunas
Prison: Guantánamo Provincial Prison, Guantánamo

36. Librado Ricardo Linares García, 43
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Camajuaní, Villa Clara province
Prison: Ariza Prison, Cienfuegos province

37. Virgilio Marante Guelmes, age unknown
Sentence: 3 years
Date of arrest: 6 December 2002
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Melena 2 Prison, Havana province

38. Hector Fernando Maseda Gutierrez, 62
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana
Prison: Villa Clara Provincial Prison (“El Pre”), Villa Clara province

39. Jose Miguel Martínez Hernández, 40
Sentence: 13 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Quivicán, Havana province
Prison: Guanajay Prison, Havana province

40. Mario Enrique Mayo Hernández, 40
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Camagüey
Prison: Hospital of Combinado del Este Prison, Havana


41. Luis Milán Fernández, 35
Sentence: 13 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Santiago de Cuba
Prison: Hospital of Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

42. Rafael Millet Leyva, 34
Sentence: awaiting trial
Date of arrest: 21 March 2003
Home town: Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud
Prison: El Guayabo Prison, Isla de la Juventud

43. Nelson Moline Espino, 40
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 20 March 2003
Home town: San Miguel del Padron, Havana province
Prison: Kilo 5½ Prison, Pinar del Río province

44. Ángel Juan Moya Acosta, 40
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana
Prison: Carlos J. Finlay Hospital, Havana

45. Jesús Miguel Mustafá Felipe, 59
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 1 March 2003
Home town: Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba province
Prison: Ciego de Ávila Provincial Prison (known as “Canaleta”)

46. Felix Navarro Rodríguez, 50
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Perico, Matanzas province
Prison: Guantánamo Provincial Prison, Guantánamo

47. Pablo Pacheco Avila, 34
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Ciego de Ávila
Prison: Moron Municipal Prison, Ciego de Avila province

48. Hector Palacios Ruiz, 63
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 20 March 2003
Home town: Havana
Prison: Hospital at Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

49. Arturo Perez de Alejo Rodríguez, 53
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Manicaragua, Villa Clara province
Prison: Ariza Prison, Cienfuegos province


50. Omar Pernet Hernández, 57
Sentence: 25 years.
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Placeta, Villa Clara
Prison: Carlos J. Finlay Hospital, Havana

51. Horacio Julio Piña Borrego, 37
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Sandino, Pinar del Río province
Prison: Kilo 5½ Prison, Pinar del Río province

52. Fabio Prieto Llorente, 38
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Nueva Gerona, Isla de Pinos
Prison: Kilo 8 Prison, Camagüey province

53. Alfredo Manuel Pulido Lopez, 43
Sentence: 14 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: La Mascota, Camagüey province
Prison: Kilo 7 Prison, Camagüey province

54. Jose Gabriel Ramon Castillo, 46
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Santiago de Cuba
Prison: Carlos J. Finlay Hospital, Havana

55. Arnaldo Ramos Lauzerique, 63
Sentence: 18 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Holguín Provincial Prison (Cuba Sí)

56. Ricardo Ramos Pereira, 33
Sentence: 4 years
Date of arrest: 28 February 2002
Home town: Havana
Prison: Combinado del Este Prison, Havana

57. Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez, 47
Sentence: 25 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Sancti Spíritus province
Prison: Nieves Morejon Prison, Sancti Spíritus province

58. Alexis Rodríguez Fernández, 34
Sentence: 15 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba province
Prison: Mar Verde, Santiago de Cuba province


59. Nestor Rodríguez Lobaina, 38
Sentence: 6 years and 6 months
Date of arrest: 2 March 2000
Home town: Baracoa, Guantánamo province
Prison: Paso de Cuba Prison, Guantánamo province

60. Omar Rodríguez Saludes, 39
Sentence: 27 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Agüica, Matanzas province

61. Omar Moises Ruiz Hernández, 57
Sentence: 18 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Santa Clara city
Prison: Ciego de Avila Provincial Prison (called “Canaleta”)

62. Claro Sánchez Altarriba, 51
Sentence: 15 years
Date of arrest: 19 March 2003
Home town: Santiago de Cuba
Prison: Guantánamo Provincial Prison, Guantánamo

63. Jose Enrique Santana Carreira, 29
Sentence: 4 years
Date of arrest: 28 February 2002
Home town: Havana
Prison: Valle Grande Prison, Havana

64. Ariel Sigler Amaya, 40
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Pedro Betancourt town, Matanzas province
Prison: Santa Clara Provincial Prison, Villa Clara province

65. Guido Sigler Amaya, 51
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Pedro Betancourt town, Matanzas province
Prison: Aguïca Prison, Matanzas province

66. Ricardo Silva Gual, 31
Sentence: 10 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba province
Prison: Boniato Prison, Santiago de Cuba province

67. Fidel Suárez Cruz, 34
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Pinar del Río province
Prison: Agüica Prison, Matanzas province

68. Manuel Ubals González, 35
Sentence: 20 years
Date of arrest: 20 March 2003
Home town: Guantánamo province
Prison: Boniato Prison, Santiago de Cuba province

69. Hector Raúl Valle Hernández, 36
Sentence: 12 years
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: San Jose de las Lajas, Havana province
Prison: Guanajay prison, Havana province

70. Antonio Augusto Villareal Acosta, 56
Sentence: 15 years.
Date of arrest: 18 March 2003
Home town: Villa Clara
Prison: Santa Clara Provincial Prison, Villa Clara province

71. Orlando Zapata Tamayo, 36
Sentence: 3 years
Date of arrest: 20 March 2003
Home town: Havana city
Prison: Quivicán Prison, Havana province

********

(1) For Amnesty International, prisoners of conscience are people detained anywhere for their beliefs or because of their ethnic origin, sex, colour, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth or other status, who have not used or advocated violence.

(2) Cuba and the USA do not have diplomatic relations. However, since 1977 the US has had an Interests Section based at the Swiss Embassy in Havana.

(3) Article 14 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(4) For further information please see Cuba: “Essential Measures”? Human rights crackdown in the name of security, AMR 25/017/2003.

(5) The Lawton Foundation for Human Rights is an organization that promotes the defence of all human rights, particularly the right to life, through non-violent means. The organization is not recognized by the Cuban authorities.

(6) Oscar Elías Biscet has been in prison since 6 December 2002 and is recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

(7) Cuba ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1995 and presented its first report to the Committee against Torture (CAT) - the body charged with monitoring implementation of the terms of the Convention by the State parties-, in November 1997.

(8) Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, G.A. res. 43/173, annex, 43 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 298, U.N. Doc. A/43/49 (1988).

Member Comments

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On March 19, 2005, bernie wrote:

WOW: I wonder who gave amnesty international all the data
about the CUBANS in prison their names, age,sentence, prison,
home town, etc.
I would suggest amnesty international hire the person, to
find out about the prisoners the usa have at GUANTANAMO
BAY, also AFGHANISTAN.  Then they might be able to talk
honestlyabout freedom and human rights.

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On March 19, 2005, Dana Garrett wrote:

This is odd:

>>Cubaís National Assembly elects the President, Vice-President and the other judges of the Peoplesí Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. In addition, all courts are subordinate to the National Assembly and the Council of State, raising concerns with regard to internationally recognised standards for fair trial and the right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.(3) The right of dissidents to a fair and proper defence is also unlikely as lawyers are employed by the Cuban government and as such may be reluctant to challenge prosecutors or evidence presented by the state intelligence services.<<
_______________________________

>>Cubaís National Assembly elects the President, Vice-President<<

Parliments elect Prime Ministers.  There’ no general election for Prime Minister in England.

>>and the other judges of the Peoplesí Supreme Court<<

Most Supreme Courts are nominated by the executive and ratified by the Legislature and are subject to impeachment by the Legislature.

>>Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General<<

Again, this is the same in every nation I know.

>>In addition, all courts are subordinate to the National Assembly and the Council of State, raising concerns with regard to internationally recognised standards for fair trial and the right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.

What does “subordinate” mean?  There’ a sense in which this true in most nations.  Do they mean that the National Assembly can overturn a Court’ decision?  That’ not my understanding.

>>The right of dissidents to a fair and proper defence is also unlikely as lawyers are employed by the Cuban government<<

So are Public Defenders in the USA.

>>and as such may be reluctant to challenge prosecutors or evidence presented by the state intelligence services.<<

“May be reluctant?”  “May?”  Are they or not?  This is a factual matter, not a speculative one.  AI can do better than that.

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On March 20, 2005, waldo wrote:

Bernie the answer is : data given by the CIA. Don’t you think that Amnesty Int. is part of, or directed by the CIA? I do. And where is Amnesty Int. report on the 100,000 killed(mostly woman and innocent children) in Iraq by the US and its gang?

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On April 06, 2005, Brianna wrote:

hi ur kool

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On April 06, 2005, waldo wrote:

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FOR 71 FOR 5 ?

Many people think that Amnesty International (AI) is trying hard to do a good job towards human rights at many locations of human mistreatment. However many believe that there is room for AI to expand and go beyond its present power and range of work. Recent press releases in Madrid and U.K. well covered the 71 Cuban political prisoners jailed in Havana, but offered no details about the 5 Cuban political prisoners jailed at five different locations throughout the U.S. Most would agree that in all fairness and equality AI ought to integrate into its cartel the case of the Cuban 5 (Antonio, Fernando, Gerardo, Ramon and Rene).

The stories and issues of both sets of prisoners do have many similarities and characteristics in common such as nationality, politics, trial, disproportionate sentencing, treatment and conditions in prisons, lack of family visits, etc. And, there is an additional very important motive-issue in favor of the Cuban 5 that does not exist in the case of the 71. The mission of the 5 was to collect information in order to avert future terrorist actions been planed in Southern Florida against their island. During the past 43 years, an estimated 3,000 human beings have died in Cuba as a consequence of innumerable acts of terrorism, aggressions and invasions emanating from abroad and with headquarters in Miami.

AI beyond task would be that of negotiator, conflict resolution and executor, bringing more power to it while contributing to ease tensions accumulated for over four decades between two equally Sovereign Nations. AI mission beyond would then be that of physically exchanging political prisoners from both sides of the Florida Strait with a mission statement like: ” 71 for 5 “.