Thursday, September 27, 2012

Human rights activists detained in Cuba

Cuba: Human rights activists detained in Cuba

UA: 276/12 Index: AMR 25/022/2012 Cuba Date: 25 September 2012


dozens of cuban opposition activists detained

Members of the Ladies in White have been detained in Havana and several
other places in Cuba. Some remain in detention and the authorities have
failed to provide reasons for their detention or information on their

From 21 to 24 September the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) held
several activities, including masses and marches in Havana, to celebrate
the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (Virgin de la Merced) and in memory
of former political activists. Since 20 September, various members of
the Ladies in White have received intimidating notes aimed at preventing
them from taking part in activities. Reports from the group state that
the headquarters in Neptuno Street, Havana have been surrounded by
police officers.

Around 50 members of the group, who travelled from different provinces
of Cuba to attend the activities, were arrested on their way to Havana.
The majority of them were released and deported back to their provinces,
however 19 remain detained and their whereabouts are unknown. On 24
September as the Ladies in White planned to attend mass, an act of
repudiation (acto de repudio see background information) took place at
their headquarters. Government supporters and state agents gathered in
the street chanting pro-government slogans and intimidating the women.
In the early morning of 25 September 18 members of the Ladies in White
were arrested at the headquarters.

Amnesty International believes that the repeated use of short term
detentions of members of the Ladies in White and other activists in Cuba
is a tactic used to silence dissident voices in the country and prevent
peaceful activities. Furthermore the systematic arrest of activists
travelling from the provinces to Havana represents an excessive
limitation to freedom of movement and represents excessive control and
harassments of dissidents.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

Calling on the authorities to reveal immediately the identity and
whereabouts of all members of the Ladies in White arrested between 21-25

Urging them to immediately release the detained members, unless there is
sufficient evidence to charge them with an internationally recognizable
criminal offence;

Urging them to immediately cease the harassment and intimidation of
members of the Ladies in White and all other citizens who seek to
peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and
association, and immediately stop arbitrary restrictions on freedom of
movement of Cubans inside Cuba.



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: +537 85 56 621; +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 check with your section office if sending appeals after the above


dozens of cuban opposition activists detained
ADditional Information

Acts of repudiation (actos de repudio) are government coordinated
demonstrations, usually carried out in front of the homes of political
opponents, attended by government supporters, state officials and law
enforcement agencies aimed at harassing and intimidating opponents and
are often used to prevent them from travelling to participate in
activities. During an act of repudiation, political opponents and human
rights activists are subjected to verbal and physical abuse by groups of
people chanting pro-government slogans. Police are usually present but
fail to intervene to stop the assaults. Such incidents frequently
involve the Rapid Response Brigades (Brigadas de Respuesta Rápida), a
structure set up in 1991 and composed of Communist Party volunteers
whose task is to deal with any sign of 'counter-revolution'.

Local human rights activists and others believe these incidents are
orchestrated by Cuba's security services to intimidate any opposition.

The Ladies in White was formed by a group of female relatives of the 75
prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned in March 2003 for their
peaceful expression of critical opinions of the government. The group
would attend mass every Sunday in the capital, Havana, dressed in white,
to pray for the release of their relatives. Afterwards they would take
part in a procession from the church to a nearby park, carrying white

A solidarity group called the Ladies in Support (Damas de Apoyo)
subsequently emerged to support and participate in activities organized
by the Ladies in White. In early 2012 the two groups merged and all
members are now considered to be Ladies in White. After the release of
all the prisoners of conscience from the March 2003 crackdown, the
Ladies in White have been campaigning for the release of political
prisoners and for the lifting of restrictions on fundamental civil and
political freedoms in Cuba.

The Ladies in White have repeatedly suffered harassment and intimidation
as they have attempted to carry out their peaceful activities. They are
frequently subject to acts of repudiation by government supporters and
members of the security forces, and also to short-term arbitrary
detentions in order to disrupt their activities.

Name: Members of The Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) and other
opposition activists in Cuba

Gender m/f: both

UA: 276/12 Index: AMR 25/022/2012 Issue Date: 25 September 2012

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