Urgent Interventions

Continued judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU)

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CUB 001 /1015 / OBS 090

Judicialharassment / Arbitrary detention


October 28,2015

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Cuba.

Descriptionof the situation:

TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicialharassment and arbitrary detention of members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba(UNPACU) Messrs. Zaqueo Báez Guerrero and Ismael Bonet Reñé aswell as Ms. María Josefa Acón Sardiñas, also member of the Ladies inWhite, a peaceful protest group founded by female relatives of Cuban politicalprisoners.

According tothe information received, on September 20, 2015, the three human rightsdefenders, along with other activists, were arrested while trying to approachPope Francis in his car in Havana on his way to the mass he was giving, anddragged away by security personnel at Havana's Revolution Square. Theirintention was apparently to raise awareness over human rights violations andthe increasing repression against Ladies in White, UNPACU, and other groups inCuba. As of issuing this urgent appeal, the three human rights defenders wouldstill be detained.

TheObservatory would like to recall that these arbitrary detentions are part ofgenuine wave of political and social repression that led to several “preventivedetentions”[1] that took place aroundPope Francis' visit, and at least 882 in September, as denounced by Cuban humanrights organisations. Activists have been arrested and detained by theauthorities to prevent them from attending papal ceremonies.

TheObservatory urges the Cuban authorities to immediately and unconditionallyrelease Messrs. Zaqueo Báez Guerrero, Ismael Bonet Reñé and Ms. MaríaJosefa Acón Sardiñas as well as all human rights defenders currently held indetention, since their detention only aims at sanctioning their human rightsactivities aimed at protecting and defending freedom of expression.

TheObservatory more generally calls upon the Cuban authorities to put an end tothe continuing harassment, including at the judicial level, against the above-mentionedhuman rights defenders and to protect and respect the right to freedom ofexpression.

Actions requested:

Please writeto the authorities of Cuba asking them to:

i. Put anend to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, againstMessrs. Zaqueo Báez Guerrero, Ismael Bonet Reñé and Ms. María JosefaAcón Sardiñas as well as of all human rights defenders in the country;

ii.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity ofMessrs. Zaqueo Báez Guerrero, Ismael Bonet Reñé and Ms. María JosefaAcón Sardiñas as well as of all human rights defenders in Cuba;

iii. Complywith all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particularwith:

  • article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels",

  • article 6(a), which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”;,

  • as well as article 12.2, which provides that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration";

iv.Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordancewith the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international humanrights instruments signed or ratified by Cuba.


  • Mr. Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State of Cuba, La Habana, Cuba, Código Postal 10400, Fax: + 53 7 8333085 (through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), E-mail:
  • Dr. Darío Delgado Cura, Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba, Avenida 1ra, No. 1801 e/ 18 y 20. Reparto Miramar, municipio Playa, CP 11 300, La Habana, Cuba, Tel: +53 7 206 9090.
  • Mr. Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Calle G, No. 360 Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución La Habana, Cuba, Fax:+ 53 7 836 4500, 8333 085, E-mail:
  • General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra, Minister of Interior, Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana, Cuba, Fax: + 53 7 855 6621 + 53 7 8301 566, Correo- E:
  • Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations in Geneva, 100 chemin de Valérie, 1292 Chambésy, Fax: + 41 22 758 9431 E-mail:
  • Embassy of Cuba in Brussels, 77 rue Roberts Jones, 1180 Uccle, Belgium, Fax : + 32 2 344 9661, E-mail:

Please alsowrite to the diplomatic representations of Cuba in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva,October 28, 2015

Kindly informus of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

TheObservatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of humanrights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact theObservatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail:

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18/ +33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 /+ 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Organisations are pointing to 353 temporarydetentions or proceedings.