EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 25/06/93
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