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Cuba: Authorities miserably fail on their promise to release graffiti artist unfairly held

    October 16, 2015

    The Cuban authorities’ failure to keep to their commitment to release a graffiti artist unfairly imprisoned nearly a year ago is a painful illustration of their disregard for freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.

    “Committing to release Danilo Maldonado Machado on 15 October only to keep him behind bars for no reason other than speaking his mind and criticising the government is not only cruel but sends a strong message that freedom of expression is not on the Cuban government’s radar,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Danilo is a prisoner of conscience, deprived of his liberty as punishment for peacefully expressing his opinions. He must be released immediately and unconditionally and not be made to spend another second behind bars.”

    Yesterday, prison authorities told Danilo’s mother that he had served his time but that they did not know when he would be set free. Danilo, however, has never been brought before a judge or sentenced.

    “Danilo’s story has all the elements of a science fiction novel: fist he was put behind bars under the most ludicrous excuse and then kept there arbitrarily without even being charged. The fact that Cuban authorities continue to play with Danilo and his family is just shocking,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

    Danilo Maldonado Machado, known as ‘El Sexto’, was arrested by agents of the political police (Seguridad del Estado) in Havana while travelling in a taxi on 25 December 2014. Officers opened the taxi’s boot and found the two pigs with “Raúl” and “Fidel” painted on their backs. He was accused of “disrespecting the leaders of the Revolution” but never brought to court. Danilo intended to release the pigs at an art show on Christmas Day.

    Read more:
    Cuba must release graffiti artist jailed for painting Castros’ names on pigs’ back (News Story, 29 September 2015)
    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/cuba-must-release-graffiti-artist-jailed-for-painting-castros-names-on-pigs-back/

    Cuba: Human Rights at a glance (briefing, 17 September 2015)
    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/cuba-human-rights-at-a-glance/

    For more information please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca