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UA 347/93 - Cuba: prisoner of conscience / enforced exile / health concern: Sebastian Arcos Bergnes

, Index number: AMR 25/011/1993

Sebastian Arcos Bergnes, Vice-President of the unofficial Comite Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos (CCPDH), Cuban Committee for Human Rights, was sentenced in October 1992 to four years' imprisonment for "enemy propaganda". He is a prisoner of conscience. In recent months he is said to have been put under pressure to accept exile abroad in exchange for his liberty, an offer which he has reportedly rejected. This pressure has reportedly comprised threats to cancel family visits, to prolong his sentence and to take reprisals against members of his family. He is reported to be in poor health.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 25/11/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 347/93 Prisoner of Conscience/Enforced Exile/ 1 October 1993
Health Concern
CUBA: Sebastián ARCOS BERGNES, Vice-President of the Comité
Cubano Pro Derechos Humanos,
Cuban Committee for Human Rights
Amnesty International has received reports that prisoner of conscience
Sebastián Arcos Bergnes is being subjected to pressure from the Cuban
authorities to accept exile in return for his early release. His state of health
is said to be poor and he is reportedly not receiving medical attention.
Sebastián Arcos Bergnes is the Vice-President of the unofficial Comité Cubano
Pro Derechos Humanos (CCPDH), Cuban Committee for Human Rights. He was arrested
on 15 January 1992 and sentenced in October 1992 to four years eight months
imprisonment for "enemy propaganda" on the grounds that he had "sent abroad
false reports of human rights violations by the Cuban authorities which were
used in campaigns of defamation against Cuba promoted by the United States".
Arcos, who is in his early 60s, is currently held in Ariza Prison, Cienfuegos
and is permitted to receive visits only every two or three months. He received
a family visit on 20 September and was found to be extremely thin. Previous
reports indicated that he had lost 20-30 lbs in weight while in detention.
He suffers from an oedema in both legs and has blood pressure problems. He
has also been suffering from a gum abscess and has a chronic sinus condition
for which he has been refused medical treatment.
Over the past two or three months Arcos is said to have been put under pressure
to accept exile abroad in exchange for his liberty, an offer which he has
reportedly rejected. According to reports, this pressure has consisted of
threats to cancel family visits, to prolong his sentence and to take reprisals
against members of his family. The visit he was due to have in July was suspended
apparently on the grounds that he had been responsible for smuggling reports
of human rights violations out of the prison.
Amnesty International considers Sebastián Arcos Bergnes to be a prisoner of
conscience imprisoned solely because of his peaceful activities in defence
of human rights and believes that he should be released immediately and without
condition. Amnesty International opposes enforced exile in all cases.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty International believes that there are as many as five or six hundred
prisoners of conscience imprisoned in Cuba at present for their peaceful
political and human rights activities. A number of them have been released
early in recent months but most only on condition that they leave Cuba. Prison
conditions have seriously deteriorated over the past two years, at least in
part because of the economic crisis facing the country which has led to shortages
of food, medicines and other essentials in the population as a whole. Many
prisoners are said to be suffering from malnutrition and illnesses related
to their poor diet and conditions.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters
either in Spanish, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at reports that pressure is being put on Sebastián Arcos
Bergnes by the authorities to accept early release on condition that he leave
Cuba;
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release on the grounds that
he is prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely because of his peaceful defence
of human rights in Cuba;
- urging that he be granted immediate access to all necessary medical treatment.
APPEALS TO
1) President:
Dr Fidel Castro Ruz
Presidente del Consejo de Estado
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: President Castro, 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 President Castro)
2) Attorney-General:
Dr Juan Escalona Reguera
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
San Rafael 3
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Fiscal General, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511456 FISGE
Faxes: + 5 37 333164
3) Minister of Justice:
Dr Carlos Amat Forés
Ministro de Justicia
Ministerio de Justicia
Calle O, No. 216, 8vo piso
e/ 23 y Humboldt, Vedado
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Ministro Justicia, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511331 MINJU
4) 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
Telegrams: Ministro Relaciones Exteriores, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511122 / 511464 / 512950
Faxes: + 53 7 333085 / + 53 7 335261
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Director of Ariza Prison
Sr Director
Prisión de Ariza,
Cienfuegos
Provincia de Cienfuegos, Cuba
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 12 November 1993.

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