United Nations calls for the immediate release of 7 more political prisoners from the list of Prisoners Defenders

Prisoners Defenders

They are Aymara Nieto Muñoz, Eliecer Bandera Barreras, Humberto Rico Quiala, José Antonio Pompa López, Melkis Faure Hechevarría, Mitzael Díaz Paseiro and Silverio Portal Contreras.

With this resolution, there are already 10 cases that, together with Iván Amaro Hidalgo, Josiel Guía Piloto and Marbel Mendoza Reyes, in less than 6 months, the UN has declared as arbitrary arrests and for which it demands immediate release and reparation with compensation for the damage caused to said people. To these, we should further add the cases also of José Daniel Ferrer, Fernando González Vaillant, José Pupo Chaveco and Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces.

Prisoners Defenders Statement, June 4, 2020

Resolution of the working group on arbitrary detention

After months of work, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has followed this process for its deliberation (all documents provided by all parties are attached transparently):

  1. Initial complaints from the Prisoners Defenders of the 7 cases to the Working Group: Aymara Nieto Muñoz, [1] Eliecer Bandera Barreras, [2] Humberto Rico Quiala, [3] José Antonio Pompa López, [4] Melkis Faure Hechevarría, [5] Mitzael Díaz Paseiro, [6] y Silverio Portal Contreras. [7]
  2. Analysis and request of additional information by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
  3. Submission of complaints to Cuba by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
  4. Response to complaints by Cuba on February 11, 2020. [8]
  5. Submission of Cuba’s response to Prisoners Defenders on February 14, 2020. [9]
  6. Arguments by Prisoners Defenders in return to Cuba’s response. [10]
  7. Resolution No. 4/2020 (Cuba), adopted and ratified on April 29, 2020 at the 87th session of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. [11]

About the work of the United Nations Bodies

These two resolutions of 10 political prisoners, in less than 6 months, as well as the case of José Daniel Ferrer and his three companions, based on procedures initiated by Prisoners Defenders, demonstrate that the United Nations human rights defense bodies are effective and can give results, but:

  1. They require legal preparation and exhaustive work so that these mechanisms have support to act.
  2. Verbal complaints are not enough, without adequate legal language and without the necessary evidence.
  3. They demand from the opposition, dissent and social movements additional work, to the field work they develop in the defense of human rights, that is, the maximum collaboration with organizations such as Prisoners Defenders, and others, to document, gather and send on time and manner all legal documents and evidence, as well as the refusal of the institutions to deliver said documents in some cases.

Certain key factors allow effective and qualified defense of political prisoners and arbitrary arrests:

  • Legislation in Cuba, ambiguous and that do not protect the minimum human rights, allows the framework of action to generate effective defenses against human rights defenders who are arbitrarily imprisoned with false accusations of common crimes.
  • The lack of independence and / or the serious problems of subordination of the popular courts in Cuba to the interests of State Security, making themselves complicit in the arbitrariness that these repressive forces commit outside the law, allows their legal arguments to be fragile and lack from any legal support.
  • The submissive and dependent action of defense attorneys to the State Security organs, apart from their professional commitment in search of legitimate assistance to the legal defense, makes it even more evident the resolutions of United Nations organizations, which refer to their performance as “promoters” of the injustices and arbitrariness described.

At the root of all these evils is the action of State Security, which subdues the State of Cuba and its institutions to such an extent, while committing all kinds of abuses against its citizens, including State officials, which internationally discredits the alleged rule of law that in Cuba does not exist for this reason.

State Security is an organ that is not subject to any control by the State, except for the highest levels of the Communist Party’s political bureau, embodied in the figure of Raúl Castro and a small handful of other people. The rest of the State sees how the hand of said body watches over, subdues, and subjugates State servants to carry out actions that otherwise would not have occur among many of the cadres. An important internal debate among the cadres of the State is necessary to limit the actions that are literally destroying any possible prosperous future of Cuba.

About the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Despite the fact that Cuba does not attend to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, it is subject to said Commission and its deliberations and opinions on Cuba. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in addition to justifying its arguments in its own procedures, adds references to the Commission’s work, which makes the work of the IACHR a work of the utmost importance for the region and for the defense of human rights in Cuba.

The work of the IACHR is also exemplary, it has been carried out with great professionalism in very adverse and unfavorable conditions created by Cuba, but it is highly effective and should continue and be promoted as much as possible in Cuba. The preparation and presentation of a country report on Cuba this 2020 is a relevant fact that we, Prisoners Defenders, encourage to be the keynote in countries that, like Cuba, suffer the most flagrant and widespread violation of human rights in the entire region and the whole world.

Other cases

Prisoners Defenders is preparing a joint work with entities of the highest prestige of Spanish and European law in order to present between 30 and 40 cases already fully documented both to the United Nations and to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and in parallel to organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, and many others, as well as other institutions and bodies.

The resolution of immediate release of political prisoners by the United Nations

The resolutions of the 10 cases can be read in the following official United Nations documents:

On the work of media bodies, entities and institutions

We kindly ask the Delegation of the European Union in Cuba, as well as the Delegations of the different Member States of the European Union, referring to their role as human rights defenders in Cuba through the clauses to that effect in the current Dialogue Agreement with Cuba, to initiate defense processes of these 10 cases, of which 8 have to be released immediately, and two else, already released due to sentence, must have reparation for the damages caused.

Likewise, we kindly ask the Organization of American States that, faithful to the work it already performs in the work of protecting human rights in Cuba and throughout the region, issues a statement in favor of these 10 human rights defenders so that the different countries in the region also issue firm requests for the release of the 8 activists who are still in prison and the 2 whose damages must be repaired.

Prisoners Defenders has shown how cerebral palsy and irreparable damage to Silverio Portal Contreras has been caused in prison, by its jailers, and as a consequence of his political persecution and captivity. His case is of the utmost humanitarian gravity and we make a special mention of all the organizations and institutions, as well as the Cuban government, so that Silverio Portal Contreras does not have to wait for the chain reaction of all of them and a delay that can end what little remains of his life, so that he can be released immediately.

About Prisoners Defenders

Prisoners Defenders is an independent group of analysis, study and legal action, which has the collaboration of multiple opposition groups and families, professionals and officials in order to gather information and promote human rights in Cuba.

Cuban Prisoners Defenders is part of the Prisoners Defenders International Network, a legally registered Association based in Madrid, Spain, whose focus of action is the promotion and defense of human rights and democratic values, and whose Internet address is www.prisonersdefenders.org.

The works of Cuban Prisoners Defenders are adopted by numerous institutions and are sent, among others, to the United Nations Organization, Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights

Watch, Civil Rights Defenders. Freedom House, European Parliament, United States Congress and Senate FNCA, ASIC, UNPACU,

Government of Spain, Spanish Transition Foundation, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, FANTU, Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel, College of Pedagogues Independent of Cuba and the Citizen Movement Reflection and Reconciliation, among many other institutions and organizations of equal relevance.

REQUEST FOR REPORTS: Entities wishing to receive the work of Cuban Prisoners Defenders (list of political prisoners and of conscience, legal studies of political prisoners, legal studies on Cuba, studies on repression and prisons in Cuba, etc) please contact Cuban Prisoners Defenders at info@prisonersdefenders.org or by whatsapp or phone at +34 647564741. Disambiguation: Prisoners Defenders generates its contents and reports in Spanish, and then translates them into other languages with the sole purpose of facilitating reading, but in case of any need for nuance or disambiguation, it will be the reports generated in Spanish that prevail and are official, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Our website is www.prisonersdefenders.org and our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/CubanDefenders. Our Twitter, in addition, is @CubanDefenders.

[1] Claim submitted about Aymara Nieto Muñoz:

[2] Claim submitted about Eliecer Bandera Barreras:

[3] Claim submitted about Humberto Rico Quiala:

[4] Claim submitted about José Antonio Pompa López:

[5] Claim submitted about Melkis Faure Hechevarría:

[6] Claim submitted about Mitzael Díaz Paseiro:

[7] Claim submitted about Silverio Portal Contreras:

[8] Response of the Government of Cuba to the complaints made by Prisoners Defenders:

[9] Letter from the Working Group to Prisoners Defenders with the response of Cuba:

[10] Arguments by Prisoners Defenders in return to Cuba’s response:

[11] Resolution No. 4/2020 (Cuba), adopted and ratified on April 29, 2020 at the 87th session of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:

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