Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cuba: Protesters detained without charge - Amnesty International

Document - Cuba: Protesters detained without charge

UA: 215/12 Index: AMR 25/018/2012 Cuba Date: 18 July 2012



Ladies in White Niurka Luque Álvarez and Sonia Garro Alfonso, and
Sonia's husband Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González, are believed to have
been detained without charge since March.

On 17 March in the Cuban capital, Havana, the Ladies in White (Damas de
Blanco) were demonstrating peacefully to commemorate the anniversary of
the 2003 crackdown on dissidents, when 18 of them were arrested and
taken to police stations across the city. All but Niurka Luque Álvarez,
were released a few hours later.

The following day, Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, and her husband,
Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González, were arrested at their home in Havana:
around 50 police forced their way into the house and fired rubber
bullets at them. According to her sister, Sonia Garro Alfonso was
wounded in the foot by one of these bullets.

Since then the two women have been sent to various detention centres,
and are now held in Guatao women's prison in the outskirts of Havana.
Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González is being held in Havana's Combinado del
Este prison. Both women are reported to be in poor health. Sonia Garro
Alfonso was suffering a kidney problem before her arrest that may
require surgery. According to her daughter, Niurka Luque Álvarez
regularly suffers epileptic fits. The women are allowed visits every
week, and Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González every two weeks.

Although all three have access to a lawyer, it is not clear what they
have been charged with. Relatives told Amnesty International that the
authorities have accused Sonia Garro Alfonso of attempted murder and
public disorder, but none of them has been formally charged. They have
yet to be told if or when they will be put on trial. They think they
were arrested because of the visit of the Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba in
March 2012 and their activism with the Ladies in White, and that it is
intended to intimidate other government critics.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

Calling on the authorities to charge Niurka Luque Álvarez, Sonia Garro
Alfonso and Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González with internationally
recognizable criminal offences or release them immediately;

Asking them to ensure that anyone charged is given a fair trial in
compliance with international standards;

Urging them to cease immediately the harassment and intimidation of
Ladies in White and other citizens who peacefully exercise their rights
to freedom of expression and association.


Head of State and Government

Raúl Castro Ruz

Presidente de la República de Cuba

La Habana, Cuba

Fax: +53 7 83 33 085 (via Foreign Ministry)

+1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)

Email: (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)

Salutation: Your Excellency

Interior Minister

General Abelardo Coloma 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

And copies to:

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

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


ADditional Information

The Ladies in White were commemorating on 17 March 2012 the anniversary
of the 2003 Black Spring (Primavera Negra). In 2003, over several days,
the Cuban authorities arrested 75 men and women for their peaceful
expression of critical opinions of the government. They were subjected
to summary trials and were sentenced to prison terms of up to 28 years.
Amnesty International declared the 75 convicted dissidents to be
prisoners of conscience, and the last of them was released in April 2011.

The Ladies in White were formed at that time as the group of female
relatives of the 75 prisoners of conscience. After their releases in
2011, the Ladies in White continued their activity of campaigning for
the release of remaining political prisoners and for the lifting of
restrictions on fundamental civil and political freedoms in Cuba.
Members of the organization have been repeatedly prevented from meeting
for any purpose, including to attend mass on Sundays.

Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba from 28-30 March 2012, and celebrated
open air masses in the city of Santiago de Cuba and the capital, Havana,
and held meetings with the leaders of the Cuban Catholic Church and the
Cuban authorities. Government critics had hoped the Pope's visit might
herald an opening on the part of the Cuban authorities, but instead they
were subjected to further repression. Over 200 government critics were
apparently detained during the Pope's visit, and many others held under
house arrest, with the express purpose of preventing them from
travelling to attend the masses and take part in protest activities.

Names: Niurka Luque Álvarez (f), Sonia Garro Alfonso (f), Ramón
Alejandro Muñoz González (m)

Gender m/f: both

UA: 215/12 Index: AMR 25/018/2012 Issue Date: 18 July 2012

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