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Cuba: blind political prisoner is in danger of losing life
Attorney and devout Christian, Juan Carlos González Leiva, 37 years old, is being physically and psychologically tortured in the State Security prison in Holguín
MIAMI (DI, Jul. 4, 2002) - The attorney and Christian Human Rights activist Juan Carlos González Leiva, 37 years old, is being physically and psychologically tortured in the State Security prison in the city of Holguín, in eastern Cuba, and his life is at risk. This was the denouncement sent overseas via telephone by his wife, Maritza Calderín Columbie.
"The fact that he is blind adds to the horror and infamy of this religious and political persecution against the attorney González Leiva. Prison authorities deny him adequate medical assistance and they did not even give him a Bible in Braille that his wife brought him", as reported in an interview by Laida Carro, of the Coalition of Cuban-American Women (Coalición de Mujeres Cubano-Americanas), a non-governmental humanitarian organization. Carro added that Cuban authorities are trampling on fundamental human rights granted in the Declaration of Human Rights, as provided in Article 19, "every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression"; and Article 5, "no person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment or treatment".
A solicitation for international help was made in a document by the Coalition of Cuban-American Women :
"We are making an urgent plea of help to the religious and political authorities of the Western World, to lift their voice demanding the immediate release of González Leiva."
The plea was extended to attorneys' associations, associations for the blind, human rights organizations, governmental and private, and journalist groups, so that they would not remain indifferent; and to all women and men of goodwill.
"One minute longer could cost this militant Christian his life. The government of Cuba is responsible, before God and world opinion, for whatever may happen to him."
González Leiva, President of the Human Rights Foundation of Cuba, has been incarcerated since March 4th of this year in the State Security Prison of Pedernales, Holguín, 300 km. from Ciego de Avila.
On that day, together with 7 other human rights activists and an independent journalist, they had gone to visit another journalist, Jesús Alvarez Castillo, whom hours before had been injured by members of the State Security and was hospitalized due the injuries they caused him. The activists, together with the wounded journalist, conducted a peaceful protest proclaiming loudly "Long live Christ the King!" "Long live free Cuba" "Long live human rights!" Shortly after, they were savagely beaten by State Security agents and paramilitary groups. The beating caused González Leiva 4 stitches on his head.
Afterwards, the human rights activists were sent to various prisons in the country, without even notifying their families.
The names of the other detained: Delio Laureano Resquejo, Lázaro Iglesias, Virgilio Mantilla and José Carlos Morgado, also members of Human Rights Foundation of Cuba; Enrique García Morejón and Antonio García Morejón; and the independent journalist Lexter Tellez Castro.
During the late 1990's, González Leiva created the Fraternity of the Independent Blind of Cuba and the Human Rights Foundation of Cuba, which he actually presides.
DI020703 / Destaque Internacional (DI)
By clicking on this link, you will be able to send an e-mail in protest to the Cuban chancery, Cuban Interests Section in Washington and the Brazilian Cuban embassy, with a copy to the Inter-American Committee of Human Rights and Amnesty International. We have included a brief optional text, which you can modify however you want. It is important to include your name, and that of your family members and friends are agree with you, and also the city and country of origin.
We request and appreciate your anticipated immediate action of reclamation before Cuban authorities of the immediate release of González Leiva and saving his life. We suggest that you contact pertinent religious and political authorities, and also leaders of attorneys' associations, associations of journalists, associations for the blind and for human rights, in order to firmly manifest your protest before diplomatic representatives and Cuban counselors in your country.
If you can, and if convenient, we would appreciate a short message with what actions your are taking and any suggestions you may have. Please click on:
For more information in Spanish and English by e-mail of news pertaining to the case of González Leiva, please click on:
* Free González Leiva Committee
Tel.: (1-305) 2256840 (this phone number can also be used to establish contact with Mrs. Laida Carro, of the Coalition of Cuban-American Women)
* State Security Prison in Pedernales, Holguin
Tel.: (532) 4422369
Carretera Central, vía a Bayamo
Provincia de Holguín, Cuba
* Foreign Relations Minister of Cuba
Felipe Pérez Roque, Minister
Tels.: (537) 553537, 553260
Fax: (537) 333460
Calzada #360, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba.
* Cuban Interests Section in Washington
Fax: (1-202) 986-7283
2630 16 Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
* Embaixada de Cuba em Brasilia
Jorge Lezcano Pérez, Embaixador
Tels.: (61) 2484710, 2484130, 2484517 y 2484215
Faxes: (61) 248 6778 y 248 7559
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