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Further to Cuba: blind political prisoner is in danger of losing life

Also so update to this in English & en Español

IN CUBA, BLIND LAWYER AND NINE FELLOW HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FORMALLY ACCUSED, WILL GO ON TRIAL

Face Sanctions Of Up To Seven Years in Prison September 2002

Maritza Calderin Columbie, wife of lawyer and blind human rights activist in
Cuba, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva was notified that the prosecutor's office of
Ciego de Avila has formally accused her husband and requests that he serve a
six-year prison term. The four charges against Gonzalez Leiva are: " acts of
disrespect towards Fidel Castro, public disorder, resisting authority, and
disobedience." According to Isahin Valdivia, Gonzalez Leiva's defense lawyer
who provided all information, the trial is to be held sometime in mid
September.

Along with Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, president of the Cuban Foundation for
Human Rights, seven activists and two independent journalists also face the
same charges. Of the ten accused, eight have been incarcerated and two women
activists have been under house arrest since the incident of March 4, 2002. 

On said date in the city of Ciego de Avila, the independent journalist Jesus
Alvarez Castillo fainted due the severe beating received from Cuban State
Security agents and was taken to the Antonio Luaces Iraola hospital. Eight
activists and two independent journalists went to the hospital and carried
out a peaceful protest in solidarity with the severely beaten journalist
where they prayed and cried out: Hail Christ the King! Long live human
rights! Down with Fidel!"  The group of ten activists was surrounded by
government security forces that brutally dragged and beat them. They were
immediately arrested and imprisoned.

Since March 4, 2002 to the present date, the eight imprisoned activists
suffer most of the following human rights violations (two women are under
house arrest):

*Held without formal charge(s) until August 22, 2002.
*Taken to prisons distant from their homes, creating undue hardship for the
detainees and their families.
*Families threatened for denouncing violations of detainees.
*Denied medical attention repeatedly requested for ailments caused by prison
conditions.
*Critical deterioration of their health due to illnesses caused by prison
conditions.
*Their lives are threatened by common criminals placed in their cells.
*Systematic intimidating interrogatories.
*Forced to sign and renounce affiliation to their human rights organization.
*Beaten by prison guards.
*Denied right to bail.
*Denied a bible.
*Blind activist suffering undue hardship - denied glasses, cane and needed
facilities.
*Held in unsanitary and inhumane prison conditions and given food detrimental
to their health.
*Cannot write or receive mail.

Below are the names of the ten human rights activists, their prison
sanctions, and their organizations:

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva (blind) - 6 years in prison - Fundacion Cubana de
Derechos Humanos (FCDH)
Virgilio Mantilla Arango - 7 years  (FCDH)
Delio Laureano Resquejo - 2 years and 8 months  ( FDCH)
Lazaro Iglesias Estrada - 4 years and 6 months  (FDCH)
Ana Pelaez Garcia (under house arrest) - 4 years of forced labor   (FDCH)
Odalmis Fuentes Fernandez (under house arrest) - 4 years of forced labor 
(FDCH)
Enrique Garcia Morejon - 6 years  Movimiento Cristiano Liberacion
Antonio Garcia Morejon - 6 years  Movimiento Cristiano Liberacion
Lexter Tellez Castro - 6 years (independent journalist) - Agencia de Prensa
Libre Avileña
Carlos Brizuela Yera - 5 years (independent journalist) - Colegio de
Periodistas Independientes de Camaguey

The Cuban government is held responsible for the physical and mental well
being of these peaceful human rights activists and independent journalists.
Urgent support needed from international organizations for the blind, human
rights groups, religious entities, and dignitaries of democratic nations, the
press and all men and women of good will.
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Coalition of Cuban-American Women
Email: Joseito76 @ aol.com