Hunger strike in Cuba
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    PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE ON HUNGER STRIKE – URGENT ACTION

    UA: 76/17 Index: AMR 25/6001/2017 Cuba Date: 31 March 2017
    URGENT ACTION

    PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE ON HUNGER STRIKE

    Two days after Fidel Castro’s death, a family of four human rights
    defenders were
    arrested in Holguín, south-east Cuba. They received a one-year sentence,
    and the three
    siblings are currently on hunger strike. They are prisoners of
    conscience and must be
    released immediately and unconditionally.

    Twin sisters Anairis and Adairis Miranda Leyva, their brother, Fidel
    Manuel Batista Leyva, and their mother,
    Maydolis Leyva Portelles, all human rights defenders, were arrested on
    27 November 2016, two days after the
    death of Fidel Castro for allegedly leaving their house during the
    period of state mourning. The initial arrests took
    place in Holguín and coincided with an “act of repudiation” (acto de
    repudio), a government-led demonstration that
    is common in Cuba, carried out at the family’s home. The family are
    government critics, known for their activism
    and associated with a number of political and human rights movements
    including Movimiento Cubano de Reflexión
    (Cuban Reflection Movement). According to Maydolis Leyva Portelles,
    currently under house arrest, there were
    many non-uniformed state security officials, including political police
    and military officials, present during the arrest.
    Maydolis Leyva Portelles and her children were charged under Article 204
    of the Penal Code, which criminalizes
    defamation of institutions, organizations and heroes and martyrs of the
    Republic of Cuba, and with public disorder.
    On 13 January, a court of second instance upheld a one-year prison
    sentence for all three siblings, but allowed
    their mother to carry out her sentence under house arrest in order to
    care for her grandchildren, Adairis’ children.
    According to their mother, the three siblings began a hunger strike on 7
    March, the day they began serving their
    sentences and were imprisoned. The siblings are currently being held in
    three separate hospitals in critical
    condition. Doctors informed their mother that Adairis is at risk of a
    heart attack and that Fidel is urinating blood; and
    that all have lost significant weight. On her last hospital visit,
    Maydolis Leyva Portelles says that she was asked to
    sign a document which would authorize doctors to force feed her three
    children, which she refused to do. She told
    Amnesty International, “I don’t want any of my children to die, but I
    want to respect their wishes.” All three siblings
    and their mother are prisoners of conscience and must be released
    immediately and unconditionally.
    Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
    – Calling on the authorities to release Anairis Miranda Leyva, Adairis
    Miranda Leyva, and Fidel Manuel Batista
    Leyva immediately and unconditionally from imprisonment and Maydolis
    Leyva Portelles from house arrest, as they
    are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising
    their right to freedom of expression;
    – Calling on them to refrain from using measures to punish hunger
    strikers or to coerce them to end a hunger
    strike, which would be a violation of their right to freedom of expression.
    – Urging them to provide the siblings with access to qualified health
    professionals providing health care in
    compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of
    confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent.
    PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 12 MAY 2017 TO:
    President of the Republic
    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: cuba@un.int (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/
    Señor Fiscal General
    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your
    country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
    Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address
    Salutation Salutation
    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
    date.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
    According to its webpage, El Movimiento Cubano de Reflexión is a
    non-violent organization which aims to mobilize Cuban
    citizens to bring about social change.
    The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a
    Cuban-based human rights NGO not recognized by
    the state, documented a monthly average of 827 politically motivated
    detentions in 2016.
    Provisions of the Cuban Criminal Code, such as contempt of a public
    official (desacato), resistance to public officials carrying
    out their duties (resistencia) and public disorder (desórdenes públicos)
    are frequently used to stifle free speech, assembly and
    association in Cuba.
    Article 204 of the Cuba Penal Code criminalizes “defamation of
    institutions, organizations and heroes and martyrs of the
    Republic of Cuba.” (Difamación de las instituciones y organizaciones y
    de los héroes y mártires). Under the law, anyone who
    publically defames, denigrates or disparages institutions of the Cuban
    Republic, or political organizations, or heroes or martyrs
    of the homeland, risks sanctions of deprivation of liberty of three
    months to a year or a fine.
    Under international law, the use of defamation laws with the purpose or
    effect of inhibiting legitimate criticism of the government
    or public officials violates the right to freedom of expression.
    Name: Anairis and Adairis Miranda Leyva (f), Fidel Manuel Batista Leyva
    (m), Maydolis Leyva Portelles (f)
    Gender m/f: all
    UA: 76/17 Index: AMR 25/6001/2017 Issue Date: 31 March 2017

    Source: www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AMR2560012017ENGLISH.pdf

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