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Former prisoners of conscience still intimidated in Cuba
Published on July 5, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

HOLGUIN, Cuba -- Three siblings sentenced to one-year in prison for allegedly leaving their house during the state mourning following Fidel Castro´s death, are on hunger strike after being harassed and intimidated in Cuba since their conditional release in April.

Their sentences should be quashed and their release made unconditional, Amnesty International said.

Three siblings, twin sisters Anairis and Adairis Miranda Leyva, their brother, Fidel Manuel Batista Leyva and their mother, Maydolis Leyva Portelles, all human rights defenders, were arrested on 27 November 2016, two days after the death of Fidel Castro.

The siblings were given a one-year sentence for “defamation of institutions, organizations and heroes and martyrs of the Republic of Cuba” and “public disorder” for allegedly leaving their house during the period of state mourning.

On 2 April, after a prolonged hunger-strike, the three siblings were released under conditional release (licencia extrapenal). This form of conditional release means that charges are not dropped but that those convicted are allowed to spend the remainder of their sentences outside prison. Their mother has remained under house arrest.

On 8 June, the three siblings began another hunger strike to protest their harassment and intimidation and to seek the quashing of the sentences against all four members of their family.

According to Maydolis Portelles, since their conditional release, the family has been subjected to harassment and intimidation from various state entities. The municipal court of Holguín summoned the siblings several times and threatened to revoke the release if they did not begin to work.

Members of the family were also subjected to at least two “acts of repudiation” (acto de repudio), a government-led demonstration that is common in Cuba.

Additionally, several doctors at Hospital Lenin denied the siblings medical treatment unless they gave up their hunger strike, according to Maydolis Porteyes.

The three siblings are currently at home, where they have been since leaving the hospital on 20 June.
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