Néstor Rodíguez Lobaina should be released to forced exile with 10 other political prisoners - Dr. Guillermo Farinas, Sacharow-Prize winner 2010, and other human rights defenders arrested
Félix Navarro Rodríguez and José Daniel Ferrer García are free. Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina, imprisoned since 09.12.2010
Frankfurt am Main/ Havana (24th of March 2011) - The last two political prisoners of the "Group of the 75" who had been arrested during the "Cuban Black Spring 2003" and sentenced up to 28 years in prison, were released, reports the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR). Félix Navarro and José Daniel Ferrer have refused until the end to be deported to a forced exile to Spain together with their families. The Catholic Church announced almost at the same time that 11 more political prisoners will be released to Spain. According to the ISHR the founder of the pro-democratic youth movement Néstor Rodríguez Loabaina, who is in arrest since December 2010, is among them.
Sacharow-Prize winner arrested
In the night to Thursday again human rights defender have been arrested arbitrarily, among them Dr. Guillermo Farinas Hernández, Sarachrow-Prize winner of the European Parliament 2010. ISHR reports that in the province Villa Clara an unknown number of civil rights activists have been arrested by violence - among them some, who were on their way to a funeral. According to the ISHR besides Dr. Farinas following persons were arrested: Damaris Moya Portieles, María del Carmen Martínez López, Ernesto Mederos Arozarena, José Luís Ascensio López, Ramón Arboleya Abreu, Jorge Luís Martínez Montiel, Alexis Oms Pérez and Alcides Rivera Rodrguez. But the exact number of the inmates is still unkown.
Félix Navarro and José Daniel Ferrer are free on probation
Due to the ISHR Félix Navarro Rodrguez and José Daniel Ferrer Garcia were released without forced exile, but on probation in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. Both were the last political prisoners of the "Group of the 75" who still were in jail. Now all political prisoners of this group have been released from prison. According to the information of the ISHR, only 11 people of the "Group of the 75" were allowed to stay in Cuba, 64 prisoners were deported to a forced exile to Spain after their release.
"We are back again. We will still be in contact with all our brothers and continue our struggle for a free and democratic Cuba", declared Ferrer after his release. Both civil rights activists have been sentenced during the so-called "Black Spring" each with 25 years in prison and refused until the end, to be deported to exile to Spain. This deal, which had been negotiated in 2010 between the Catholic Church and the Spanish government on one side and the Castro regime on the other, was accepted by over 40 of the political prisoners.
"This is a big day for the people in Cuba. It is very important for the Cuban democracy movement, that human rights activists like Felix Navarro and José Daniel Ferrer who are famous around the world will stay on the island, in order to continue their dedication for a democratic and plural society in Cuba", says Martin Lessenthin, Speaker of the Board of the ISHR.
The ISHR thanked the political sponsors of José Daniel Ferrer, Dr. Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament, and Holger Haibach who was a sponsor during his time in the German Parliament and continued it afterwards, for their support. Both releases are a good example for the success that can be achieved by a permanent pressure of the international community.
Castro-regime still deports political prisoners to Spain
Almost at the same time with the announcement of the release of Navarro and Ferrer, the Catholic Church in Havana reported, that 11 other political prisoners should be deported to exile to Spain. One of them should be the leader of the opposition and founder of the pro-democratic youth movement "Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia" (MCJD), Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina. But his brother Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina couldn't confirm this information yesterday yet: "While talking to Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina a few minutes ago, he hasn´t made a decision yet (whether he will go to exile)." But according to information of the ISHR, the legal action against him, which was planned for the 21st of March, was quickly cancelled.
Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina was arrested by force on the 9th of December 2010 in front of his 10 year-old daughter. On the 15th of February he began a hunger strike which lasted 24 days and with which he wanted to raise attention to his politically motivated arrest. After that he was sent to isolation in prison and they even refused to give him any drinking water. Due to an urgent life-threatening situation, he had to be taken to the prison department in the hospital.
As the case of Néstor Lobaina, the deportation of more political prisoners to Spain and the again arbitrarily arrest of peaceful civil rights activists show exemplary the systematically violation of international standards concerning the treatment of prisoners and prove, despite of the release of Navarro and Ferrer, that the conditions in Cuba factually haven't changed. The Cuban government has no interest in respecting the human rights and doesn't show enough will to involve the opposition in a future political dialogue. Released prisoners are forced to go to exile and those, who stay on the island, in order to fight for a change, have to face a permanent harassment, observation and the pressure from the secret police.
More information about the human rights situation in the Republic of Cuba: