|Huber Matos fought alongside Fidel Castro and spent 22 years jailed for his nonviolent dissent|
"I did not want to become an obstacle to the revolution and I believe that if I am forced to choose between falling into line or withdrawing from the world so as not to do harm, the most honorable and revolutionary action is to leave."
The revolutionary tribunal was prepared. Fidel Castro spoke to Matos promising that if he confessed to everything that he would not face any prison time and could go home. Matos refused, and as the show trial began and they tried to shut him up - he refused. He went on to speak for more that three hours and concluded his testimony stating:
Revolutionary officers that had been convened at the trial to chant "to the execution wall" instead moved by his testimony rose up and applauded Matos. Instead of the firing squad the revolutionary tribunal sentenced him to 22 years in prison in December 1959."I consider myself neither a traitor nor a deserter. My conscience is clear. If the court should find me guilty, I shall accept its decision - even though I may be shot. I would consider it one more service for the revolution."
|Mario Chanes fought against Batista, was jailed with Castro, and later jailed by Castro 30 years|
Chanes could have had any position in the new regime, but opted to return to his brewery job. After two years of watching Castro betray their movement, Chanes spoke out against the communist influence in the revolutionary government. Chanes was tried as a counterrevolutionary and in 1961 imprisoned for 30 years.
|Ricardo Bofill: human rights defender and prisoner of conscience|
|U.S. Ambassador to the UNHRC Armando Valladares|
prisoners of conscience in Cuba. Prisoners of conscience have died in Castro's prisons while protesting mistreatment at the hands of Cuban officials. This has gone on for decades. Some of the high profile cases stretch out over a half century: student leader Pedro Luis Boitel (1972), Orlando Zapata Tamayo (2010), and Wilman Villar Mendoza (2012) have been documented on this blog.
On 11 September 2019,authorities arrested independent Cuban journalist Mr Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces in Cuba, after he was convicted of resistance and disobedience in August 2019.He is a prisoner of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.
President of the Republic of Cuba
Hidalgo, Esquina 6. Plaza de la Revolución
La Habana, CP 10400 Cuba
I write to you to condemn the imprisonment of Mr Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces, a Cuban independent journalist at Cubanet, arrested on 11 September, after being convicted of resistance and disobedience and sentenced to one-year in prison in August2019.
Over decades, Amnesty International has documented how criminal code provisions such as “resistance” to public officials carrying out their duties and “disobedience” have been used to stifle the rights to freedom of expression in Cuba. This imprisonment is yet another example of a tired trend that has continued under your administration.
I therefore demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces. Pending his release, he should be allowed access to his family and not be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
According to information available to Amnesty International, Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces, a lawyer and independent journalist at the news website Cubanet, was arrested on 11 September 2019 in Cuba after being convicted in August 2019by the Municipal Court in the city of Guantanamo for resistance and disobedience.
According to the journalist, in April national police had detained and beaten him. As a result, he had made a formal complaint against them. On August 23, an appeal court upheld his conviction, without granting him a further oral hearing.
Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces also alleges that he was arbitrarily detained on previous occasions, as early as 2015. On 20 August, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Office of the Special Rapporteur condemned the prison sentence against journalist Roberto Quiñones and expressed concern about the persistence of criminalization and harassment against communicators and human rights defenders in Cuba. The Office of the Special Rapporteur in a recent report on Cuba, found that state agents are the “main source of threats and attacks against the press” and called on this practice to be “dismantled and sanctioned.”
Amnesty International has found that the disproportionate and arbitrary use of the criminal law, and campaigns of state-sponsored discrimination against those who dare to speak out, coupled with discriminatory dismissals from state-employment, and the lack of an independent judiciary to challenge this, has created a profound climate of fear in Cuba.
In August, Amnesty International named five prisoners of conscience in Cuba, likely representing only a tiny fraction of those behind bars for peacefully expressing their views. Those five prisoners of conscience belong to political and pro-democracy groups not recognized by the state –all of whom have been imprisoned for crimes that are either inconsistent with international law or that have been used for decades in Cuba to silence critical voices.
The dominant official media remains heavily censored and limited in Cuba. While an increasing range of autonomous digital media projects have emerged in recent years, alternative online news sources operate within a legal limbo that exposes journalists and media workers to the risk of harassment and arbitrary detention. Moreover, their webpages are often blocked by the authorities in Cuba.
Cuba remains the only country in the Americas which Amnesty International is not permitted to enter for human rights monitoring work.
PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO ADDRESS TARGET: Spanish, English
PLEASE TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNTIL: 24 September 2019 NAME AND PREFERRED PRONOUN: Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces (He, his, him)