Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||20 October 1998|
|Case Numbers:||cu931; cu9804_bea; cu9813_and|
|Victims:||Felix A. Bonne Carcases; Vladimiro Roca Antunez; Maria Beatriz Roque Cabello|
|Subject:||Imprisoned scientists charged with sedition|
|Issues:||Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; Freedom from exile; Freedom of opinion and expression; Right to liberty and security of the person|
|Type of alert:||Update|
|Related alerts:||14 April 1998; 5 October 1998; 24 May 2000 24 March 2003 8 April 2003 9 May 2002 4 November 2002|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The four leaders of the Internal Dissidents' Working Group for the Analysis of the Cuban Socio-Economic Situation (GTDI), engineer and physicist Felix A. Bonne Carcases, economists Vladimiro Roca Antunez and Maria Beatriz Roque Cabello, and attorney Rene Gomez Manzano, were charged with sedition on 15 October 1998. Prosecutors are seeking a six-year sentence for Roca Antunez and five-year sentences for the others. According to the Cuban Criminal Code, sedition includes nonviolent opposition to the government. The four were arrested on 16 July 1997. They have been detained for fifteen months without charge or trial. A government spokesman indicated that the trial would take place "soon."
The four dissidents were arrested for their leadership role in GDTI. Several members of the group were arrested for a short period of time (hours or days) on 27 June 1997 following a press conference in which they criticized an official document entitled "The Party of Unity, Democracy and the Human Rights We Defend."
The four leaders were sent to separate prisons were they were subjected to extremely poor prison conditions and held with convicted violent criminals. Ms. Roque Cabello, who suffers from ulcers and other ailments, has reportedly been released from a military hospital, where had been held since June 1998, and denied adequate medical attention. She is currently being held in Manto Negro Prison. Roca Antunez is being held in Ariza Prison. He has not received proper medical attention for his high blood pressure and visits from his family have been restricted.
Dr. Bonne Carcases was among twenty university professors fired for signing and submitting an open letter from Cuban professionals to an Ibero-American summit meeting, calling for the universal right of free expression of all Cubans. He joined the dissident movement in 1990 and was one of the founders of the Cuban Civic Movement and one of the first members of the dissident organization Concilio Cubano.
The detentions of Felix A. Bonne Carcases, Vladimiro Roca Antunez, Maria Beatriz Roque Cabello, and Rene Gomez Manzano constitute serious violations of international human rights standards enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted without opposition by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. They include:
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of the person (Article 3);
- no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile (Article 9); and
- everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19).
(Sources of information for this update include Human Rights Watch, El Nuevo Herald, the Associated Press, and Reuters. Previous sources of information include the Associated Free Press, Cuba Free Press Project; Reuters; and Amnesty International.)
Please send telexes, telegrams, faxes, or airmail letters:
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Felix A. Bonne Carcases, Vladimiro Roca Antunez, Maria Beatriz Roque Cabello, and Rene Gomez Manzano on the grounds that they are prisoners of conscience;
- expressing concern about the inadequate medical attention provided to Maria Beatriz Roque Cabello and Vladimiro Roca Antunez; and
- asking for details about their current status.
APPEAL AND INQUIRY MESSAGES SHOULD BE SENT TO:
Sr. Carlos Dotres Martinez
Ministro de la Salud Publica
Ministerio de la Salud Publica
Calle 23, No. 301
Vedado, La Habana, Cuba
Salutation: Senor Ministro
Dr. Juan Escalona Reguera
Fiscal General de la Republica
San Rafael 3
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: 011 53 7 333 164
Salutation: Senor Fiscal General
Seguridad del Estado (DSE)
Santiago de Cuba
Prov. Oriente, Cuba
Salutation: Sr. Director
COPIES SENT TO:
Sr. Roberto Robaina Gonzalez
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Calzada No. 360
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: 011 53 7 333 085 or 335 261
Salutation: Senor Ministro