Hunger strike in Cuba
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September 2013
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    UA: 240/13 Index: AMR 25/008/2013 Cuba Date: 11 September 2013

    NEW prisoner of conscience on hunger strike
    Cuban activist Iván Fernández Depestre was arrested on 30 July during a
    peaceful march, and has been on hunger strike since. He was sentenced on
    2 August to three years imprisonment on politically motivated charges.
    Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, detained
    solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
    On 30 July Iván Fernández Depestre, who is a member of dissident groups,
    and five other activists peacefully demonstrated in Placetas, in the
    central province of Villa Clara to commemorate the anniversary of the
    death of Cuban national hero Frank País, when they were arrested by
    officials from the Department of State Security. All were subsequently
    released except for Iván Fernández Depestre, who was charged with
    “dangerousness” (peligrosidad), a pre-emptive measure defined as the
    “special proclivity of a person to commit crimes”. Behaviour such as
    drunkenness, drug-addiction and “antisocial behaviour” is criminalized
    under this provision, which is often used as a pretext to imprison
    political dissidents, independent journalists and government critics.
    A summary trial was held on 2 August at the Municipal Court of Placetas
    in Villa Clara province. Iván Fernández Depestre was sentenced to three
    years imprisonment. According to information received by Amnesty
    International he had no legal representation during the trial. Iván
    Fernández Depestre has been on hunger strike since being detained. On 26
    August he was hospitalized for a day at the Arnaldo Milián hospital and
    then sent to the infirmary of the Guamajal prison in Santa Clara where
    he has been imprisoned since his conviction.
    Iván Fernández Depestre was arrested and imprisoned solely due to his
    being a member of dissident groups and for peacefully demonstrating and
    expressing his political opinion. Amnesty International therefore
    considers him a prisoner of conscience.
    Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
    Calling on the authorities to release Iván Fernández Depestre
    immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience,
    detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of
    Urging them to eliminate from the Criminal Code provisions regarding
    “dangerousness” and reform or repeal all legal provisions which
    unlawfully limit the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and
    association, and bring them in line with international law and standards;
    Calling on them to ensure he is granted adequate access to qualified
    health professionals and to refrain from taking any punitive measures
    against him or any other prisoners for undertaking hunger strikes.


    Head of State and Government
    Raúl Castro Ruz
    Presidente de la República de Cuba
    La Habana, Cuba
    Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba office in Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban
    Mission to UN)
    Email: HYPERLINK “” (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
    Salutation: Your Excellency
    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
    And copies to:
    Interior Minister
    General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra
    Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
    Ministerio del Interior,
    Plaza de la Revolución,
    La Habana, Cuba
    Fax: +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)

    Salutation: Your Excellency
    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above

    new prisoner of conscience on hunger strike

    Article 72 of the Cuban Criminal Code, “The Dangerous State”, reads:
    “The dangerous state is considered to be the special proclivity of a
    person to commit crimes as demonstrated by behaviour that manifestly
    contradicts the norms of socialist morals.” (Se considera estado
    peligroso la especial proclividad en que se halla una persona para
    cometer delitos, demostrada por la conducta que observa en contradicción
    manifiesta con las normas de la moral socialista).
    Iván Fernández Depestre was sentenced to “security measures for those
    deemed to be likely to commit a crime in the future” (medidas de
    seguridad predelictivas). According to the certificate of his sentence
    he was accused of “meeting with antisocial persons” (“por reunirse con
    personas antisociales”). Articles 78 to 84 of the Criminal Code describe
    the types of measure that can be taken, which include re-educative
    measures lasting from between one and four years. The person is to be
    interned in a “specialized work or study establishment” (un
    establecimiento especializado de trabajo o de estudio) or sent to “a
    work collective” (colectivo de trabajo). There is no mention of
    Article 75 of the Criminal Code states that an “Official Warning”
    (Advertencia Oficial) will be given by the relevant police authority, to
    prevent those concerned from carrying out socially dangerous or criminal
    activities (será objeto de advertencia por la autoridad policíaca
    competente, en prevención de que incurre en actividades socialmente
    peligrosas o delictivas). The warning is to be issued as a legal
    document (acta) expressly stating the reasons for it, as well as what
    the person concerned has to say about it, and must be signed by both
    parties. According to information received by Amnesty International it
    is unclear whether he ever received any warning from the authorities,
    written or oral.
    Iván Fernández Depestre belongs to various dissent organisations,
    unrecognised under Cuban legislation, including the Movimiento Opositor
    Juventud Despierta (Opposition Movement Awake Youth), Coalición Central
    Opositora (Central Opposition Coalition) and Frente Nacional de
    Resistencia Cívica y Desobediencia Civil Orlando Zapata (National Front
    for Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience Orlando Zapata).
    Prior to the march carried out in Placetas on 30 July, Iván Fernández
    Depestre took part in other peaceful demonstrations in Placetas in
    previous weeks.
    On 4 September, local activists who went to the Guamajal prison to visit
    Iván Fernández Depestre were arrested, but released and returned to
    their homes the same day.
    Name: Iván Fernández Depestre
    Gender m/f: male

    UA: 240/13 Index: AMR 25/008/2013 Issue Date: 11 September 2013

    Source: “Document – Cuba: New prisoner of conscience on hunger strike:
    Iván Fernández Depestre | Amnesty International” –

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