Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||24 March 2003|
|Victim:||Maria Beatriz Roque Cabello|
|Subject:||Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello Re-Arrested|
|Issue:||Freedom of opinion and expression|
|Type of alert:||Update|
|Related alerts:||14 April 1998; 5 October 1998; 20 October 1998; 24 May 2000; 8 April 2003|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Over the past week, the Cuban government has arrested dozens of dissidents on charges of engaging in “conspiratorial activities.” The Americas Division of Human Rights Watch reports that the number of detentions has exceeded eighty. Among those arrested is Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, an economist.
Roque, along with Felix Bonne Carcases, Rene Gomez Manzano, and Vladimiro Roca Antunez, was a leader of the Internal Dissidents’ Working Group for the Analysis of the Cuban Socio-Economic Situation. The so-called “Group of Four” was arrested in 1997 and sentenced to prison after writing a pro-democracy document entitled, “The Homeland Belongs to All.” In May 2000, three of the four scientists were released from prison. In May 2002, Vladimiro Roca Antunez was also released.
Since her release, Roque has remained active on human rights issues. She currently leads a national association of civic groups and at the time of her arrest was conducting a hunger strike to protest the arrest of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a physician and strong human rights advocate on the island. (See http://shr.aaas.org/aaashran/victim.php?p_id=51 for information on Dr. Biscet’s case.) Roque’s niece reported that State Security officials broke into Roque’s house after she was detained and took a computer, all of her books, and medicine that she had been collecting to distribute to independent pharmacies. Her niece also reports that she went to the prison where Roque is being held and saw her aunt dressed in a prison uniform.
According to Human Rights Watch, “The only crime committed by these prisoners is the promotion of ideas that are forbidden in Cuba.” There is great concern that the detainees will be tried under a 1999 law that carries sentences of up to twenty years. The Cuban government has instituted laws that criminalize nonviolent opposition to the government and its policies.
Marta Roque suffers from an ulcer and high blood pressure. It is not known if she is receiving medicine for these conditions in prison.
(Sources of information for this case include: Human Rights Watch, the New York Times, and personal phone calls made by members of the Committee for Concerned Scientists to Marta Roque’s family.)
RELEVANT HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Article 12: (1): The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. (2): The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for: (c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases; (d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.
Please send faxes, letters, or emails:
- Expressing your concern about the recent arrest of dissidents, including Marta Roque Cabello;
- Urging the government to make sure that all of the detained have access to their families, lawyers, and any medical attention that they require; and
- Requesting that the Cuban government honor provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that provide for freedom of expression and immediately and unconditionally release all individuals held solely because of their peaceful exercise of their internationally recognized human rights.
APPEAL AND INQUIRY MESSAGES SHOULD BE SENT TO:
Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz
Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: 011 (53) 7 333085
Salutation: Your Excellency:
Sr. Felipe Perez Roque
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Calzada No. 360
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: 011(53) 7333085
Salutation: Dear Minister
General Abelardo Colome Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolucion
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: 011 53 7 333085
Salutation: Dear Mr. Minister:
COPIES SENT TO:
Cuban Interests Section
c/o Embassy of Switzerland
2630 16 Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Fax: (202) 986-7283
Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive, or direct any questions you may have to Victoria Baxter, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20005; tel. 202-326-6797; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax 202-289-4950.
The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful, accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation is always helpful.
To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of the posting unless an update has been issued.