Cuba: Amnesty International names Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara of the San Isidro Movement a prisoner of conscience

Amnesty International named Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, a member of the San Isidro Movement, a group of artists and activists, as a prisoner of conscience today and urged President Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez and other Cuban authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.

On 2 May 2021 state security officials took Luis Manuel from his home, the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement, where he was carrying out a hunger strike reportedly in protest over his artwork being confiscated from his home. According to information from the NGO Cubalex and state media, he was taken to the emergency ward of the Hospital Universitario “General Calixto García” in Havana.

“Luis Manuel must not spend one more day under state custody. He has been detained solely because of his consciously held beliefs and must be released immediately and unconditionally. It is time for the Cuban authorities to recognize that they cannot silence all the independent voices in the country. Luis Manuel is not alone: many in the international community support his work as a human rights defender and as an artist fighting for freedom of expression,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

Luis Manuel must not spend one more day under state custody. He has been detained solely because of his consciously held beliefs and must be released immediately and unconditionally

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

As far as Amnesty International can ascertain, Luis Manuel has been at the hospital under the supervision or control of state security officials, with very restricted visits from his immediate family for almost three weeks. He does not seem to have access to his telephone or the outside world. Pending his release, Luis Manuel Otero should be provided with medical care of his choice, granted regular visits from family and friends, not be tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and given access to lawyers of his choosing.

Amnesty International has named Luis Manuel a prisoner of conscience on two previous occasions, when he was detained solely for peacefully exercising his freedom of expression. He and other members of the San Isidro Movement, as well as allies and journalists, have been placed under constant and frightening surveillance, which Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps and researchers documented in December 2020.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: [email protected]