Cuba urged to release jailed activists
7 February 2011
Amnesty International has urged the Cuban authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience, following the release of a human rights activist who refused to go to exile in Spain.
Guido Sigler Amaya was freed on Friday. He had been held since 2003 and was among 52 prisoners of conscience the authorities agreed to release last July as a result of talks between the Roman Catholic Church and Cuban President Raul Castro.
Since the releases were announced in July, 40 prisoners of conscience have been freed and gone into exile in Spain. Only Arnaldo Ramos Lauzerique, released in November 2010 has been allowed to stay in Cuba. Ten prisoners of conscience remain detained by the authorities.
"The release of Guido Sigler is great news. The Cuban authorities must now ensure that the ten remaining prisoners of conscience, arrested for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly, are released immediately," said Javier Zuñiga, special adviser at Amnesty International.
"Once they are free, these activists should be allowed to carry out their legitimate work without fear of reprisals."
Guido Sigler was among 75 people arrested in March 2003 as part of a mass government crackdown on opposition figures and activists.
Most were subjected to hasty and unfair trials in early April and quickly sentenced to long prison terms.
Guido Sigler was sentenced to 20 years in prison for "counter revolutionary activities", which included demanding the release of political prisoners.
Guido Sigler is a member of the opposition group the Alternative Option Movement (Movimiento Opción Alternativa) in Matanzas Province, north-west Cuba. He was arrested along with his brothers Ariel and Miguel. They were released in June 2010 and January 2005 respectively.
The ten remaining activists in prison are: Pedro Arguelles Moran; Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez; Eduardo Diaz Fleitas; Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia; Diosdado Gonzalez Marrero; Ivan Hernandez Carrillo; Librado Ricardo Linares Garcia; Hector Fernando Maseda Gutierrez; Angel Moya Acosta and Felix Navarro Rodriguez.