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Cuba

    September 11, 2013

    Authorities in Cuba must immediately and unconditionally release a political activist imprisoned solely because of his political views, Amnesty International said as it adopted Iván Fernández Depestre a “Prisoner of Conscience”.

    The 40 year-old political activist, was arrested on 30 July in the central province of Santa Clara as he peacefully participated in a public event to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Cuban national hero Frank País.

    “Iván Fernández Depestre is being held only because he holds opinions contrary to those of the Cuban authorities. He must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor for Amnesty International.

    Mr Depestre was charged with “dangerousness”, a pre-emptive measure defined as the “special proclivity of a person to commit crimes” after he was accused of “meeting with antisocial persons”. He hand no access to a lawyer during his trial and was sentenced to three years in jail on 2 August.  He is currently on hunger strike.

    August 05, 2013

    The Cuban authorities must immediately and unconditionally release five men who have been named prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.

    The cases of the five men – Rafael Matos Montes de Oca, Emilio Planas Robert and the brothers Alexeis, Diango, and Vianco Vargas Martín – are indicative of the continuing repression of freedom of expression on the island, the organization said. 

    “These five cases are only the tip of the iceberg for Cuba’s repression of free speech,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor for Amnesty International.

    “The only progress made by the Cuban government has been the reform of the Migration Law earlier this year. It allowed many people including human rights defenders and government critics to travel abroad. Much more needs to be done to guarantee civil and political liberties in the country.”

    January 30, 2013

    Authorities in Cuba must immediately release Cuban journalist Calixto Martínez, currently imprisoned for reporting on issues seen by the authorities as “controversial”, said Amnesty International today as it named him a prisoner of conscience.

    Calixto Martínez, journalist with the unofficial news agency Hablemos Press, was arrested by the Cuban Revolutionary Police on 16 September 2012 near Havana airport.

    He was investigating allegations that medicine provided by the World Health Organization to fight a cholera outbreak was being kept at the airport, as the Cuban government were allegedly trying to down-play the seriousness of the outbreak.

    While at the airport he telephoned his colleagues at Hablemos Press to inform them that he had taken photographs and had interviewed airport workers. He was arrested shortly after.

    When he asked the reason for his arrest the police told him they were just following an order.

    Even though he was not formally charged or faced court, the police are reportedly accusing him with “disrespect” towards President Raúl Castro and his brother Fidel.

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