Darsi Ferrer, the director of the Juan Bruno Zayas Health and Human Rights Centre, was convicted on 22 June on spurious charges of receiving illegally obtained goods and “violence or intimidation against a state official” and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and three months’ “correctional work” outside the prison. As he had already been imprisoned for almost a year he was immediately released.
Amnesty International believes that Darsi Ferrer’s sentence still constitutes punishment for criticizing the government and is a powerful message to any Cuban participating in dissenting activities and wishing to express opinions contrary to those of the government.
Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his activism to promote freedom of expression
Other dissidents are still jailed.
In 2008, CCS wrote to the Cuban president on behalf of six Cuban medical doctors, all of whom have been imprisoned since 2003.
These individuals were sentenced to terms ranging from 10 to 25 years for peacefully expressing their views. All of them suffer from serious medical conditions. They are held in various prisons, in which none of them are getting the care they need. According to reports, they are held in inhumane conditions, sometimes with violent offenders. Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Paneque was held in Las Mangas Prison, Bayamo, suffering from malnourishment. He required surgery for a cyst on his kidney, but his family’s request for medical parole was not answered. The other dissident doctors are:
Dr. Oscar Elias Bisset Gonzalez, (Combinado del Este Prison) suffers from hypertension, ulcer and a severe oral infection;
Dr. Marcelo Cano Rodriguez, (Prison de Ariza, Cienfuegos) is held in darkness, his feet were severely infected:
Dr. Luis Milan Fernandez (Phychiatric Ward, Prison of Boniato, Santiago de Cuba) shared a cell with violent mental patients although he has no history of mental or emotional problems himself;
Dr. Ricardo Enrique Silva Gual (Aguadores Provincial Prison, Santiago de Cuba) was beaten in prison and suffered from glaucoma;
Dr. Alfredo M. Pulido Lopez (Kilo 7 Prison, Comaguey) had cardiac arrhythmia, chronic bronchitis and gastritis and acute vision disorder.