Free Cuban Prisoners of Conscience
In March 2003, some seventy-five Cubans were arrested in Cuba as part of a sharp increase in security measures by the Cuban authorities. Those arrested included journalists, economists, doctors, trade unionists and pro-democracy activists. While some were subsequently released, most were subjected to rushed, unfair trials and received long term prison sentences of up to twenty-eight years. Appeals by these prisoners have so far been mostly rejected. The security crackdown by the Cuban authorities has been widely condemned by the international community. Prisoners of conscience have long since been at the forefront of Amnesty International\'s strategies on Cuba. Prisoners of conscience are considered to be people who have been detained for their beliefs, ethnicity, national or social origins, sex, colour, economic status, birth or other status, who have not used nor advocated the use of violence. Amnesty International\'s Brighton and Hove Group has been campaigning on behalf of four such imprisoned trade unionists: Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Nelson Molinet Espino, Lester Gonzalez Penton and Hector Raul Valle Hernandez. These men have been detained for non-violently exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and are thus considered prisoners of conscience. Amnesty International\'s Brighton and Hove Group, and all signatories below, are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of these four prisoners. We ask that these prisoners be allowed regular access to lawyers, medical care, and relatives. If these prisoners are moved or transferred, or if there is accurate, updated information of the status of these prisoners, we ask that their families be immediately informed. We urge the Cuban authorities to guarantee all Cuban citizens their due rights of liberty, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and right to peaceful assembly, as laid out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.