Saturday, June 23, 2018

Free Cuban prisoners of conscience Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción and Dr. Ariel Ruiz Urquiola.

120 identified political prisoners: spotlight on two prisoners of conscience

The Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported in June 2018 that there were 120 political prisoners in Cuba with some the longest serving in the Western Hemisphere. Twenty one of them have served between 15 and 27 years in prison.

In this entry will focus on two political prisoners who are recognized by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience. A prisoner of conscience is anyone imprisoned for the non-violent exercise of their beliefs.  Their names are Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción and Dr. Ariel Ruiz Urquiola.
Cardet is a doctor of medicine and Ruiz is a PhD in biology.

Dr. Cardet in addition to being a medical doctor is also the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement. He has been arbitrarily detained since November 30, 2016 under conditions that qualify as cruel and unusual treatment. He has been subjected to beatings, denied medical treatment and family visits.

On June 21, 2018 the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) reported that "despite the fact that the result of the biopsy was already done, they have not yet informed Eduardo Cardet or his family. Neither did he [Cardet] have knowledge of the denial of his parole, he learned about it through his family in a call today." MCL has a campaign underway on social media to send messages demanding Eduardo Cardet's immediate and unconditional release.
Dr Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, a former university professor and an environmental activist, was arrested on May 3, 2018 and sentenced in Cuba to one-year imprisonment for contempt when he asked two forest rangers to show him their identification. The officials left the area and later in the evening three police officers came with a warrant, arrested and took Ariel to the police Station in Viñales. 

The case of Dr. Ruiz has taken on a new urgency for two reasons.  First the Cuban biologist is on the seventh day of a hunger and thirst strike demanding that he be freed. He is already hospitalized and refusing an intravenous feed. Secondly, there are concerns that his sister suffering from cancer is not being provided proper treatment. There is a social media campaign using the hashtag #FreeAriel underway on twitter.

Rosa María Payá over twitter anounced the stakes in the plight of the biologist and his sister. "The Dictatorship tries to eliminate Dr. Ariel Ruiz Urquiola. Ariel is in critical condition at the Abel Santamaría hospital, under harassment from the political police who keep coercing his sister Omara, a cancer patient."

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