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UA 247/93 - Cuba: prisoner of conscience / health concern / fear of ill- treatment: Luis Alberto Pita Santos, Jesus Chambes Ramirez

, Index number: AMR 25/006/1993

Two political prisoners, Luis Alberto Pita Santos and Jesus Chambes Ramirez, have reportedly been subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Both prisoners have declared themselves to be "plantados", a form of protest in which political prisoners refuse to wear prison uniform and to obey prison discipline. Pita Santos, who has been on hunger strike since May, is said to be in very poor health. Although very frail he was reportedly picked up by a prison guard and thrown several times to the floor on 22 April. A former university professor, he is President of the unofficial Association for the Defence of Political Rights (ADDEPO), and is a prisoner of conscience. Jesus Chambes Ramirez was arrested in early 1992 for protesting against the government although the precise charge is unknown. Both prisoners are said to have been beaten.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 25/06/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 247/93 Prisoner of Conscience/Health Concern/ 30 July 1993
Fear of Ill-treatment
CUBA: Luis Alberto PITA SANTOS (46), prisoner of conscience
Jesús CHAMBES RAMIREZ, political prisoner
Amnesty International is concerned for the well-being of political prisoners Luis Alberto
Pita Santos and Jesús Chambes Ramírez who reportedly have been subjected to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment. According to reports, since May 1993 they have been handcuffed
and with chains on their ankles from 5 am until 9 pm in the Prisión Especial de Máxima
Seguridad de Camagüey, Camaguey Special High Security Prison, also known as "Kilo 8".
Both prisoners have declared themselves to be what is known in Cuba as "plantado" - this
is a form of protest in which political prisoners refuse to wear the uniform worn by common
prisoners and to obey prison discipline in other ways. Pita Santos started his protest
on 17 October 1992.
The state of health of Pita Santos, who has also undertaken several hunger strikes since
his arrest on 9 October 1991, is described as delicate and he is said to have lost more
than 80 lbs in weight. The only time relatives have been allowed to see him in recent months
was on 13 April 1993 when he was being held for a short period in the prison infirmary.
On 22 April Pita Santos was injured after a prison official reportedly lifted him into
the air several times and let him fall, apparently in an attempt to make him put on the
prison uniform. He is said to have been on hunger strike again since early May. It is
not clear what his current situation is.
Both prisoners are also said to have been beaten on several occasions during efforts by
prison personnel to get them to put on the uniform and, in one case at least, to shave.
In the latter incident which took place in Boniato Prison in December 1992, Luis Alberto
Pita Santos reportedly suffered a broken arm after guards tried to hold him down. Both
prisoners were transferred to the prison in Camagüey in March 1993 after a protest by several
political prisoners at the conditions in which they were held. Some of those involved
reportedly rioted but it is not clear if Pita and Chambes were among them.
Luis Alberto Pita Santos, who is a former university professor, is President of the unofficial
Asociación Defensora de los Derechos Políticos (ADDEPO), Association for the Defence of
Political Rights. He was arrested on 9 October 1991 and brought to trial in April 1992
on charges of desacato, disrespect, asociación ilícita, illegal association, and
clandestinidad de impresos, clandestine printing. He was sentenced to five years'
imprisonment. Amnesty International believes him to be a prisoner of conscience, detained
solely on account of his peaceful and legitimate political activities. (See also UA 354/92,
AMR 25/27/92, 12 November 1992)
Jesús Chambes Ramírez is believed to have been arrested in Santiago de Cuba in early 1992
for protesting against the government although the precise charge is not known. He is also
thought to be a member of ADDEPO. He is said to have been beaten on several occasions while
in detention, on one occasion allegedly to the point of unconsciousness. In November 1992,
while held in Boniato Prison, he is said to have set fire to a special cell that is not
used but preserved as a monument because President Fidel Castro was imprisoned there in
1953 under the Batista dictatorship. Following this incident his mother was reportedly
told that he would be held incommunicado indefinitely. From the information so far available
concerning the reasons for his arrest, it is not clear whether Jesús Chambes is a prisoner
of conscience.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION Page 2 of UA 247/93
Over the years Amnesty International has received many reports that political prisoners
who have declared themselves to be "plantados" have been subjected to conditions that amount
to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture. While acknowledging that many such
prisoners may not have adhered to prison discipline and in some cases may have behaved
violently, Amnesty International believes that in many instances the prison authorities
have used excessive force and other inappropriate measures in their attempts to persuade
the prisoners to give up their protest.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in Spanish, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at reports that Luis Alberto Pita Santos and Jesús Chambes Ramírez
have been beaten and held for long periods handcuffed and with chains on their feet in
apparent attempts to get them to give up their protest;
- urging that a thorough investigation be carried out into the reports of ill-treatment
and those responsible be brought to justice;
- urging that they both be given all necessary medical treatment at all times and be permitted
visits from their relatives;
- urging the immediate and unconditional release of Luis Alberto Pita Santos on the grounds
that he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely because of his non-violent political
beliefs.
APPEALS TO
1) President:
Dr Fidel Castro Ruz Salutation: Su Excelencia /
Presidente de los Consejos de Estado Your Excellency
y de Ministros
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Presidente Castro, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511331 [Ministry of Justice - asking them to forward your message to the
President]
2) Attorney General:
Dr Ramón de la Cruz Ochoa Salutation: Sr Fiscal General /
Fiscal General de la República Dear Attorney General
Fiscalía General de la República
San Rafael 3
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Fiscal General, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511456 fisge
3) Minister of the Interior:
General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra Salutation: Sr Ministro /
Ministro del Interior Dear Minister
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolución
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Ministro Interior, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511122 / 511464 / 512950
Faxes: + 53 7 333085 / + 53 7 335261
[These telex and fax numbers are for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - please ask them
to forward your message to General Colomé]
4) Director of "Kilo 8" Prison:
Sr Director Salutation: Sr Director /
Prisión Especial de Máxima Seguridad de Camagüey Dear Director
Carretera de Nuevitas
Albaiza, Camagüey
Cuba
Telegrams: Director, Prisión Especial Máxima Seguridad, Camagüey, Cuba
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Sr Roberto Robaina González
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Calzada No. 360, Vedado
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Faxes: + 53 7 333085 / + 53 7 335261
Newspaper:
Granma
Apartado 6260
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
and to diplomatic representatives of Cuba accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 10 September 1993.

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