EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 25/23/97
30 July 1997
Further information on UA 221/97 (AMR 25/20/97, 18 July 1997) and follow-up
(AMR 25/21/97, 22 July 1997) - Arbitrary arrest/Legal concern/prisoner of
CUBAVladimiro ROCA ANTUNES
Marta Beatriz ROQUE CABELLO (note correction to name)
René GOMEZ MANZANO
Félix A. BONNE CARCASES
Odilia COLLAZO VALDES (released)
Amnesty International has learned that Odilia Collazo Valdés was released from
custody two or three days after her detention by State Security officials in
Havana on 17 July 1997.
The four other members named above of the Internal Dissidents’ Working Group,
arrested in Havana on 16 July 1997, remain in detention. They are now being
permitted weekly family visits in the presence of officials but are not allowed
to discuss with relatives anything related to the reasons for their detention.
At least one of them, Vladimiro Roca Antunes, has been permitted to talk briefly
to his defence lawyer, Amelia Rodríguez Calá.
The four have not yet been formally charged but State Security officials
reportedly informed the lawyer that they are under investigation on a charge
of “enemy propaganda”, which carries a maximum prison sentence of fifteen years.
However, information supplied by the Cuban authorities to foreign diplomats
suggests that they may also face other charges. According to the Cuban
authorities, they had “carried out intensive activity in recent weeks aimed
at subverting the judicial and constitutional order of the Republic of Cuba”.
They said they were seeking to disrupt the local elections (due to be held
in October) by calling for a boycott, that they had released “false and inexact
data” about the Cuban economy with the aim of negatively influencing foreign
investment in the country, that they had the logistical support of the US
Interests’ Section in Havana (the USA and Cuba do not have full diplomatic
relations) and that they were working with “leaders of terrorist groups based
in the territory of the United States”. The Cuban Government has alleged that
it has proof that “terrorist elements”, based in the USA and supported by the
US Government, were behind two bomb explosions at hotels in Havana on 13 July.
Amnesty International continues to assert that the four Working Group members
are prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully expressing views
that are contrary to Cuban Government policy. It believes that the allegations
made by the Cuban authorities are a deliberate attempt to discredit those inside
Cuba who are seeking to peacefully exercise their civil and political rights
in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It fears that
the four may be subjected to psychological pressures to sign incriminating
statements while in pre-trial detention, that they may not receive a fair trial
and that, if convicted, they may face lengthy prison sentences.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- urging that Vladimiro Roca Antunes, Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, René Gómez
Manzano and Félix A. Bonné Carcasés be immediately and unconditionally released
on the grounds that they are prisoners of conscience detained solely for
peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association;