18 October 1996
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK (AAASHRAN)
CUBA--ENGINEER ARRESTED AND DENIED MEDICAL TREATMENT IN PRISON CASE NUMBER: CU9620.LOR
ISSUES: Right to life, liberty, and security of person; freedom from arbitrary arrest; freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and freedom of opinion and expression
FACTS ON THE CASE: AAAS is concerned about the arrest and fragile state of health of Cuban engineer Carlos Lores Martinez. He was arrested on 3 May 1996 while conducting a class at the Electronics Faculty of Pinar del Rio University. He is reportedly suffering from a hernia and has lost 19 pounds since his arrest. Lores Martinez has not been officially charged with a crime, but is believed to be under investigation for producing "enemy propaganda." The charge of "enemy propaganda" is often attached to any expression of opposition to the state. He is held at the Department of State Security in Pinar del Rio province.
He is reportedly currently held in solitary confinement, but was previously placed in cells with individuals classified as dangerous. As is reported to be common practice in State Security facilities, Lores Martinez is frequently transferred from cell to cell in the middle of the night.
Lores Martinez has been denied access to legal representation and medical treatment. According to Cuban law, prisoners accused of crimes against state security are not given access to legal representation until the completion of the investigation. This law often leaves prisoners without the benefit of a lawyer for several months and sometimes prisoners meet with their lawyer only hours before a trial.
Lores Martinez's brother, also an engineer, was arrested at the same time; however, he was released without charge two months later. Both were expelled from their teaching positions. Other teachers have reportedly been expelled from their jobs for the expression of their political opinion. In addition, a number of medical professionals from Carlos J. Finaly Hospital have been dismissed for maintaining contact with human rights organizations. Students also have reportedly been transferred to other facilities solely for possessing copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The arbitrary arrests of Carlos Lores Martinez, if solely for the expression of his opinion, and the denial of medical treatment constitute serious violations of international human rights standards, including basic protections provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted without objection by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948:
Under the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by the First United Nations Congress on 30 August 1995:
[Sources of information on this case is: Amnesty International; Human Rights Cuban Information Bureau (based in Florida)]
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes, telegrams or airmail letters:
APPEAL AND INQUIRY LETTERS SHOULD BE SENT TO:
Dr. Juan Escalona Reguera
Fiscal General de la Republica
Fiscalia General de la Republica
San Rafael 3
La Habana, Cuba
[Salutation: Sr. Fiscal General:]
Fax: 011 53 7 333164
General Albelardo Colome Ibarra
Ministro de Interior
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolucion
La Habana, Cuba
[Salutation: Sr. Ministro:]
Cuartel General del Departamento de Seguridad del Estado
Pinar del Rio
[Salutation: Sr. Director:]
Sr. Fernando Vecino Alegret
Ministro de la Educacion Superior
Ministerio de la Educacion Superior
Calle 23 No. 565 esq. a F
La Habana, Cuba
Centro Universitario de Pinar del Rio
Marti 270 esq 27 Noviembre
Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Mr. Alfonso Fraga Perez
Cuban Interests Section
2630 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive, or direct any questions you may have to Elisa Munoz, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20005; Telephone: (202) 326 6797; Fax: (202) 289 4950; E-Mail: EMUNOZ@AAAS.ORG on the Internet System. The keys to effective appeals are to be: courteous and respectful; accurate and precise; impartial in approach; and as specific as possible regarding alleged violations and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation are always helpful.
To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of posting unless an update has been issued.