Further information on UA: 134/10 Index: AMR 25/010/2010 Date: 25 June 2010
CUBAN Prisoner of conscience released
Darsi Ferrer was released from detention in the Cuban capital, Havana,
on 22 June. He had spent almost a year in a maximum security prison
after organizing protests critical of the government.
Darsi Ferrer, the director of the Juan Bruno Zayas Health and Human
Rights Centre,was convicted on 22 June on spurious charges of receiving
illegally obtained goods and "violence or intimidation against a state
He was sentenced to one year's imprisonment and three months'
"correctional work" outside the prison. As he had already been
imprisoned for almost a year he was immediately released.
Amnesty International believes that Darsi Ferrer's sentence still
constitutes punishment for criticizing the government and is a powerful
message to any Cuban participating in dissenting activities and wishing
to express opinions contrary to those of the government.
Darsi Ferrer and his wife Yusnaimy Jorge Soca were detained by state
security officials and police officers on 9 July 2009, shortly before a
march against repression in Cuba, organized by Darsi Ferrer, was due to
take place. Darsi Ferrer was handcuffed and beaten by more than eight
police officers. The couple were released without charge a few hours
later, but when they arrived home, they noticed that two bags of cement,
some iron girders and two window frames that had been on their property
for a few months were no longer there. According to neighbours, police
officers had taken the construction materials. On 21 July, four police
officers went to Darsi Ferrer's home and asked him to accompany them to
a police station for questioning about the construction materials.
Instead, he was driven to a maximum security prison on the outskirts of
Havana and charged. Ordinarily, an individual accused of these crimes
would be bailed awaiting trial. However, Darsi Ferrer was refused bail
four times. Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of
conscience, detained solely for his activism to promote freedom of
Darsi Ferrer has previously been detained and prevented from leading and
participating in major human rights events. Since 2006 he has been
detained or summoned to a police station around 10 December every year,
apparently to prevent him from participating in activities celebrating
International Human Rights Day, which falls on that day.
Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is requested from
the UA network at present.