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UA 16/92 - Cuba: death penalty: Eduardo Diaz Betancourt, Daniel Candelario Santovenia Fernandez, Pedro de la Caridad Alvarez Pedroso

, Index number: AMR 25/002/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 25/02/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 16/92 Death Penalty
13 January 1992
CUBA: Eduardo DíAZ BETANCOURT
Daniel Candelario SANTOVENIA FERNANDEZ
Pedro de la Caridad ALVAREZ PEDROSO
According to press reports, 38-year-old Eduardo Díaz Betancourt, 36-year-old Daniel
Candelario Santovenia and 26-year-old Caridad Alvarez Pedroso were sentenced to death in
the first instance by Havana Provincial Court on 11 January 1992 on charges of terrorism,
sabotage and enemy propaganda, crimes against state security. The three defendants were
arrested on 29 December 1991 as they landed by dinghy on the Cuban coast near Cardenas,
Matanzas province, 150 km east of the capital, Havana. At the time of their arrest they
were reportedly in possession of weapons, ammunition and incendiary devices. According
to the Cuban authorities, the three men confessed to being members of a United States-based
terrorist organization whose mission was to carry out sabotage attacks and terrorist actions
and to distribute subversive propaganda against Cuba's communist government. The US
government has reportedly denied that it allowed Cuban exile terrorist organizations to
launch attacks against Cuba from US territory.
A death sentences are automatically referred to the Tribunal Supremo Popular, People's
Supreme Court, for review. If confirmed, it will then be referred to the Council of State,
which is presided over by President Fidel Castro, for a final decision. This procedure
has in some cases taken only a matter of days or weeks. Amnesty International is therefore
concerned that execution may be imminent. The death penalty is carried out by firing squad.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Cuba maintains the death penalty for a large number of offences and it is understood that
in recent years consideration has been given to extending its use. Nevertheless, in recent
years there has been a reduction in the number of executions carried out. According to
official statistics provided to Amnesty International by the Minister of Justice during
a visit to Cuba in March 1988, 12 executions had taken place between 1984 and 1987; ll
for common crimes, mainly murder, and one for terrorism, a crime against state security.
In a number of other cases the death sentence had been commuted on appeal. However, in
July 1989 four senior army officers were executed by firing squad after being convicted
by a court martial on a number of charges including hostile acts towards a foreign state,
drug-trafficking and abusing their official positions. Two executions are known to have
taken place during 1991: Jorge González Norona, convicted of strangling three women, (see
UA 430/90, AMR 25/05/90, 24 October 1990) and Joaquín Dueñas Carbonell, convicted of killing
two police officers in December 1990 (see UA 82/91, AMR 25/04/91, 4 March 1991).
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the right
to life and of the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Concern about the
use of the death penalty in Cuba is exacerbated by the lack or inadequacy in practice of
full judicial guarantees, particularly the right to adequate defence.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
- urging commutation of the death sentence recently passed on Eduardo Díaz Betancourt,
Daniel Santovenia Fernandez and Pedro de la Caridad Alvarez Pedroso;
- stating Amnesty International's unconditional opposition to the
death penalty in all cases;
- welcoming the reduction in the use of the death penalty in recent years
in Cuba but expressing concern that consideration is reportedly being
given to extending its use.
page 2 of UA 16/92
APPEALS TO:
1) President:
Dr Fidel Castro Ruz
Presidente del Consejo de Estado
Ciudad del la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Presidente Castro, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 51212 P DESP PRESID
Salutation: Su Excelencia / Your Excellency
2) President of the People's Supreme Court:
Dr José Raúl Amaro Salup
Presidente del Tribunal Supremo Popular
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Presidente, Tribunal Supremo Popular, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511 437 TSUPO CU
Salutation: Señor Presidente / Dear President
3) Minister of Justice:
Dr Carlos Amat Forés
Ministro de Justicia
Ministerio de la Justicia
Calle 0 No 216 8v0 piso
entre 23 y Humbolt
Vedado, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Ministro Justicia, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511 331 MINJU CU
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
Attorney General:
Dr Ramón de la Cruz Ochoa
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General
San Rafael 3
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Salutation: Señor Fiscal General/ Dear Attorney General
Granma
Apartado 6260
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
and to diplomatic representatives of Cuba in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 24 February 1992.

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