Release Hunger-Striking Activist

Prison Cell

Target: Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Republic

Goal: Immediately and unconditionally release hunger-striking prisoner of conscience.

Cuban artist Danilo Maldonado Machado has been arrested and detained without official charge. He has begun a hunger strike to protest his detention, and his health is suffering as a result. Sign the petition and demand his immediate release.

Maldonado is a well-known graffiti artist and activist whose work is highly critical of the Castro regime. At the time of his arrest, he was riding in a taxi in Havana. In the trunk of the car he had two pigs labeled “Fidel” and “Raúl,” which he intended to release as part of a public art event in the city. He was accused of “disrespecting the leaders of the Revolution,” Amnesty International reports, and sent to prison.

Maldonado has been detained for over nine months without any official charges being brought against him. It is generally assumed that he will be charged with “aggravated contempt,” a charge often used to silence legitimate criticism against high-ranking government officials.

Danilo Maldonado Machado is a prisoner of conscience and is at risk of serious health problems resulting from his hunger strike. Sign the petition and demand his immediate and unconditional release.

PETITION LETTER:

Your Excellency,

Free speech is a universal right that must be respected. I am therefore deeply concerned about artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, also known as El Sexto, who has been imprisoned without charge since December 2014. He has recently begun a hunger strike to protest his detention, and his health is quickly deteriorating. I urge you to release him immediately and unconditionally, and in the meantime to ensure that he has access to the medical treatment he requires.

Cuba’s contempt laws criminalize free speech and silence legitimate criticism of public officials. Defamation should be dealt with civilly, not criminally, and citizens should not fear for their freedom for simply exercising their right to express their beliefs and opinions.

Furthermore, it is outrageous that Maldonado has been held for the better part of a year without any charges being brought against him. This is a clear violation of his human rights. Either charge him with a legitimate, internationally-recognized crime or release him.

Finally, Maldonado’s health is suffering as a result of his hunger strike. I understand that he is receiving medical attention in prison, and I urge you to continue to ensure that he gets the care that he needs. I also implore you to keep him safe from torture and ill-treatment as he awaits what is hopefully his imminent release.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: AlexVan

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