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CUBA:
POLITICAL ACTIVIST ARRESTED

Update info:
3 Aug 2012
Country:
CUBA
Subject:
José Daniel Ferrer García
Gender m/f: m
Period:
12 Sep 2012
Distribution date:
3 Aug 2012
UA No:
229/2012

Former prisoner of conscience José Daniel Ferrer García was arrested on 30 July in Cuba's eastern province of Holguín, and his whereabouts are now unknown.

Political activist José Daniel Ferrer García has suffered a government campaign of harassment since he was released, in March 2011. He was arrested on the evening of 30 July in the province of Holguín, and his whereabouts have been unknown since then. He is the coordinator of an umbrella group of dissident organizations, based in eastern Cuba, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU). He was travelling by car with UNPACU member Antonio Blanco and two others when they were stopped by police. They had been travelling from their home province of Santiago de Cuba to the city of Holguín, in neighbouring Holguín Province. Antonio Blanco has said that they thought it was a routine police check, but once the police realized who José Daniel Ferrer García was, they arrested him. Antonio Blanco and the others were returned to their homes in the province of Santiago de Cuba.

José Daniel Ferrer García was granted conditional release in March 2011, having served eight years of his 25-year sentence. Under the terms of his release, he could be sent back to prison to serve the remaining 16 years of his sentence. He was arrested in April 2012 and charged with “public disorder”; he was released 27 days later and told that he was being released on condition he give up his political activism. Amnesty International believes his latest arrest is yet another attempt to repress his and other UNPACU members' peaceful dissident activities in eastern Cuba.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Prisoner of conscience José Daniel Ferrer García was granted conditional release in March 2011, when he had been in prison for eight years. He was one of 75 people who had been arrested and sentenced following a crackdown on Cuban dissidents in March 2003. All 75 were adopted as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International, as they had acted non-violently and were imprisoned under Cuban legislation which illegitimately criminalizes political dissent. José Daniel Ferrer García was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, as he had taken part  in the Varela Project, which aimed at requesting a national referendum on democratic reforms. Under Article 31.1.4 of the Cuban Criminal Code, conditional release allows a prisoner to see out the remainder of their sentence outside prison provided they demonstrate “good behaviour” (buena conducta).

José Daniel Ferrer García was arrested on 2 April 2012 along with 42 other government critics in the province of Santiago de Cuba, most of them UNPACU members. The others were released soon afterwards but José Daniel Ferrer García was charged with “public disorder” (desórdenes públicos). He was finally released 27 days later, and was told that he was being released on the condition that he gave up his political activism.  José Daniel Ferrer García had also been arrested on 21 February 2012 in the capital, Havana, and was held for three days before being returned to his home. During those three days, the authorities refused to admit that he was in their custody.

The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) is an umbrella group of dissident organizations, based primarily in Santiago de
Cuba, but also in neighbouring provinces of eastern Cuba. UNPACU seeks democratic change in Cuba via non-violent means.

Since UNPACU’s creation in mid-2011, its members have faced constant harassment and intimidation from the Cuban authorities, including arbitrary detention. One of UNPACU’s members, prisoner of conscience Wilman Villar Mendoza, died in January 2012 following a hunger strike in protest at his four-year prison sentence following a summary trial. This repression is part of a general crackdown against dissidents in the eastern provinces of Cuba which has gathered pace since mid-2011.

UA: 229/12 Index: AMR 25/019/2012 Issue Date: 1 August 2012
 

Take action

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to reveal the whereabouts of José Daniel Ferrer García immediately;
  • Urging them to release José Daniel Ferrer García immediately if he is detained, unless there is sufficient evidence to charge him with an internationally recognizable criminal offence;
  • Urging them to cease immediately the harassment and intimidation of members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba and all other citizens who seek to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 12 SEPTEMBER 2012 TO:

Head of State and Government
Raúl Castro Ruz    
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Havana,
Cuba    
Fax: +53 7 83 33 085 (via Foreign Ministry); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email:  cuba@un.int  (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)    
Salutation: Your Excellency

Interior Minister
General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior,
Plaza de la Revolución,
La Habana,
Cuba    
Fax: +537 85 56 621; +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: correominint@mn.mn.co.cu     
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Attorney General
Dr Darío Delgado Cura              
Fiscal General de la República,
Fiscalía General de la República, Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella, Centro Habana
La Habana,
Cuba
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.