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Human Rights

Cuba: Leader of opposition group held incommunicado

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In response to reports that José Daniel Ferrer García, leader of the unofficial political opposition group “Patriotic Union of Cuba” (UNPACU), has spent the last week in detention with no access to his family, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

“Amnesty International is deeply concerned by reports of the incommunicado detention of opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer García, who has previously been imprisoned, harassed and intimidated by the Cuban authorities for more than a decade due to his political activism. The authorities must grant him immediate access to a lawyer of his choosing and allow his family to visit him.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned by reports of the incommunicado detention of opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer García, who has previously been imprisoned, harassed and intimidated by the Cuban authorities for more than a decade due to his political activism.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

“As Cuba’s new administration embarks on Constitutional and other legal reforms, it must demonstrate to the world that it will uphold its obligations to guarantee human rights and due process for all Cubans, including the country’s most critical voices.”

According to his brother, Luis Enrique Ferrer García, José Daniel and his colleague Ebert Hidalgo Cruz were arrested on 3 August, following a road-traffic accident allegedly involving a plain-clothed state security official. José Daniel is believed to be detained in Santiago de Cuba, in the police unit known as “Micro 9”. Only the family of Ebert Hidalgo Cruz has been able to visit, according to a video posted by UNPACU.

Background:

Amnesty International had previously declared José Daniel Ferrer a prisoner of conscience, along with 74 others who were imprisoned in 2003 solely for the peaceful expression of their opinions. He was granted conditional release in March 2011, and has been arrested multiple times since.

Another pro-democracy leader, Eduardo Cardet Concepción, coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, a medical doctor and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, also remains in prison. In May, prison authorities suspended his family visiting rights for six months. Eduardo was arrested in the city of Holguín in eastern Cuba on 30 November 2016, after publicly criticizing the former President, Fidel Castro, recently after his death. Eduardo was charged with attacking a state official and sentenced to three years in prison.

Political opposition and human rights groups have historically been a target of state oppression in Cuba. Trumped-up charges for common crimes are often used as a way to harass, intimidate and detain political opponents in the country.

As Cuba’s new administration embarks on Constitutional and other legal reforms, it must demonstrate to the world that it will uphold its obligations to guarantee human rights and due process for all Cubans, including the country’s most critical voices

Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

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