Target: Cuban President Raúl Castro
Goal: Release prisoner arrested at a peaceful demonstration
On July 30, Iván Fernández Depestre was arrested for participating in a demonstration in the province of Santa Clara. The event observed the anniversary of the death of Frank País, a Cuban revolutionary hero. The demonstration held a quiet, peaceful, and respectful tone, yet authorities accused some present of being suspicious.
Iván was held under the charge of “dangerousness” after being observed “meeting with antisocial persons.” Dangerousness refers to someone’s perceived likelihood to commit a crime. He was tried without a lawyer and sentenced to three years in prison on August 2, 2013. Iván has since been on a hunger strike to protest his incarceration.
Mr. Depestre and the other demonstrators committed no crimes that day. He is instead imprisoned because his beliefs are contrary to those currently in power. He was charged under a law that is intended to correct potential crimes due to ‘antisocial behavior.’ This law is largely used to imprison critics of the government, independent journalists, and political activists.
Recently, some concerned friends attempted to visit Iván at the Guamajal prison, but were promptly arrested. They were later released without charges.
Mr. Depestre is a prisoner of conscience, detained for no other reason than his personal views. His only crime was a different opinion on basic human rights than that of his government. Tell Cuban President Raúl Castro that Mr. Depestre’s imprisonment is unjust and demand that he be released immediately.
Dear President Raúl Castro,
Iván Fernández Depestre was arrested at a peaceful demonstration in Santa Clara province on July 30, 2013. He was present to observe a commemoration for national hero Frank País. Mr. Depestre was arrested under suspicion of dangerousness due to antisocial behavior, and stood trial without a lawyer. He was sentenced to three years in prison and is currently on hunger strike in protest of his detainment.
Mr. Depestre was never actually observed committing a crime, and now faces three years in prison for no other reason than attending a public demonstration. His incarceration is unjust–personal values are not grounds for imprisonment.
I demand that Mr. Depestre be released immediately with no charges. Mr. Depestre is a prisoner of conscience, and men should only be charged for crimes they have committed, not those that they may commit.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: BearTruck2009 via Creative Commons