Tag Archives: Cuba

Torture and criminalisation of protest in Cuba


The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) will examine the situation in Cuba in relation to the measures adopted to prevent, investigate, punish and fully compensate victims of torture during its 73rd session, on 20, 21 and 22 April, 2022.

This report was prepared by a coalition of independent civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Cuba, with the support of international human rights organisations. The objective of this report is to put the spotlight on the situation of human rights on the island, based on the obligations assumed by the Cuban State by ratifying the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Treatment or Punishment.

The review by the CAT is one of the few carried out by UN treaty bodies on the island, since Cuba has ratified neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights nor the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This report highlights the lack of legal safeguards for detainees and violations of due process; the lack of independence of lawyers and justice operators; the lack of measures to prevent, eradicate and punish violence against women; the constant harassment, persecution and criminalisation of human rights defenders and journalists; the closure of democratic spaces for civil society organisations; the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment suffered by people deprived of liberty in detention centres; the arbitrary arrests, torture and cruel treatment of journalists and protesters in the context of the defence of human rights and social protest in the country.




https://www.omct.org/es/recursos/reportes/tortura-y-criminalizaci%C3%B3n-de-la-protesta-en-cuba (ESPANOL)

Cuban Government Preparing a Law Regulating Dissidents’ Defense Lawyers


People hold Cuban, Peruvian and Venezuelan flags during a protest showing support for Cubans demonstrating against their government, at Versailles Restaurant in Miami, on July 18, 2021.

The judges who make up the People’s Supreme Court are elected by the National Assembly of the People’s Power, a one-party legislative body which also elects the country’s president.

Cuba’s communist government has drafted a law that would equate the role of dissidents’ defense lawyers with that of public officials.

In May, the People‘s Supreme Court, Cuba’s highest judicial authority, drew up a series of legislative proposals that it sent to the island’s legislature, the National Assembly of People’s Power, for passage.

Among these proposals is the “Draft Law on Criminal Procedures,” which could equate the role of a defense lawyer for dissidents with that of a “public employee or official,” putting the lawyer at the mercy of pressure and sanctions from the government

A group of Cuban lawyers, who asked to speak with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the government, warned that this bill “would violate impartiality,” because “the Prosecutor’s Office represents the state, it’s a public functionary. Imagine if the defense lawyer also were.”

The lawyers pointed out that “this is something that for many years they have tried to accomplish, but a way wasn’t found to implement it by changing the law.”

“But now, with a new criminal procedural text, an attempt is being made to introduce it in a very underhanded way,” they said.

The most controversial texts of the bill are found in the fifth special provision, which defines what is an employee and a public official.

Subsections E and F state that public employees and officials are part of state agencies “of a public nature” performing “legislative, executive or judicial functions,” among others.

However, subsection G adds that “public employees or officials are also considered those persons who, in the non-state sector, as well as in foreign entities or public international organizations, exercise positions or functions similar to those described in subsections e and f when the criminal acts derive from their relationship with the state or its institutions.”

The Cuban jurists told ACI Prensa that “although the word ‘lawyer’ is not mentioned, the generality of the expression ‘non-state sector’ is the way to allow this interpretation where the judges don’t enjoy authentic judicial independence.”

“What they’re looking for is a way to exert pressure on lawyers and, when necessary, get them out of the way. That’s how they would do it.”

“And getting them out of the way,” they warned, could mean “taking them out of circulation completely” by finding them guilty of a crime, “which also would result in their expulsion from the National Organization of Collective Law Firms, the only institution of its kind on the island for the provision of legal services to native born persons who are defendants in a criminal case.”

The judges who make up the People’s Supreme Court are elected by the National Assembly of the People’s Power, a one-party legislative body which also elects the country’s president.
















https://cubalex.org/ (ESPANOL)




https://www.europe1.fr/emissions/la-photo-de-match/a-cuba-face-au-regime-le-cri-de-la-liberte-4059305 (FRANCAIS)






May be an image of 1 person and text that says "cubalex @cubalex EN PRIVACIÓN DE LIBERTAD #SOSCuba DESDE EL 11 DE JULIO ROLANDO REMEDIOS SÁNCHEZ 25 años, detenido en el Capitolio. Trasladado a Jóvenes del Cotorro CUBALE"
May be an image of one or more people and text that says "cubalex CUBALE CUBAI 537 DENUNCIAS DE DETENCIÓN 87 PERSONAS LIBERADAS 20 Julio 20 12 pm #SOSCuba #SOS"
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UK: Back to basics on protecting lawyers


Image result for The Law Society Gazette

Not associating lawyers with their clients is a UN basic principle, but this has not stopped the demonisation – often by government – of those in the profession for merely discharging their duties

It is now three decades since a United Nations conference adopted a global set of safeguards for an independent legal profession. The so-called basic principles were adopted at a 1990 conference in Havana (where president Fidel Castro assured delegates that Cuba was ‘virtually free from many forms of contemporary crime’). One of the most treasured of those principles is the statement: ‘Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.’

This noble sentiment has not prevented the persecution of lawyers across the world for discharging their functions. To take one example, the Turkey campaign group Arrested Lawyers states that, since 2016, 450 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2,786 years in prison for alleged involvement in terrorism: in several cases their ‘crime’ was to act on behalf of lawyers already jailed.

The UK should not be too smug: the government continues to reject calls for an inquiry into what it has admitted is strong evidence of security forces collusion in the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.  

More recent identifications of lawyers with their clients have involved words rather than violence, but are disturbing nonetheless. Last month the profession was unanimous in its support when distinguished barrister Dinah Rose QC came under attack for accepting a brief to appear in a Privy Council case concerning the legality of gay marriage in the Cayman Islands. Rose pointed out that the Bar Standards Board code expressly forbids a barrister from withdrawing from a case because of external pressure.


All this, of course, is taking place against the background of last year’s party conference jibes by the prime minister and home secretary about ‘lefty lawyers’ acting in asylum claims. The remarks prompted outrage in all branches of the profession, with the bar chair accusing the home secretary of seeking ‘to demonise the very people helping constituents every day, without agenda, simply because they provide a vital public service’.

In a grim reminder of the risks lawyers can face, a man was subsequently charged with an attempted knife attack on a prominent legal aid firm. The case is currently sub judice.  





Image result for hands off lawyers

Cuba: Cuban journalist gets one year in prison for crimes of resistance and disobedience

August 8, 2019

Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces, a Cuban lawyer and journalist, received one year in prison for the crime of resistance and disobedience months after being detained and allegedly beaten by the political police.

On April 22, Quiñones was attempting to report on a trial for a pastor and his wife when he was detained and allegedly beaten by the political police, according to CubaNet, an outlet for which he writes. The journalist detailed his various injuries in a two-part article for the site.

Quiñones was released from detention after five days, with an open judicial process, according to CubaNet. The Military Prosecutor in Guantánamo said police accused of injuring him were not criminally responsible, according to Quiñones and the Pro Press Freedom Association of Cuba (APLP, for its initials in Spanish).

In May, authorities gave him the option “to pay a fine to close the case,” as he wrote for CubaNet. However, he refused and that led to his trial, the site said.

The journalist said he would appeal the sentence from the Municipal Tribune in Guantánamo, CubaNet reported. He can stay at home, but cannot leave the province.

Prior to the April 22 incident, Quiñones was required to request authorization to travel, as he explains in an article for CubaNet. Consequently, he was prevented from going to Havana in February and taken off a bus going to Cienfuegos on April 18, as he said.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) spoke out against the sentence.

“The fact that Roberto Quiñones is sentenced to prison for failing to pay a fine, while the police agents who beat and detained him for days receive no punishment, is outrageous,” said Robert Mahoney, CPJ Deputy Executive Director.



Cuba sentences lawyer to jail for trying to help homeschoolers


https://www.cubanet.org/destacados/cuba-sanciona-carcel-roberto-quinones-periodista-cubanet/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2019-08-07-u1-e129488-s27061-sancionan-ano-carcel-al-periodista-independiente-cubano (ESPANOL)

https://adncuba.com/noticias-de-cuba/derechos-humanos/citan-juicio-reportero-independiente-roberto-de-jesus-quinones (ESPANOL)

http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1565284687_48009.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.radiotelevisionmarti.com/author/392.html (ESPANOL)

Cuba/USA: A Lawyer Who Does Her Profession Proud

June 7, 2019

Laritza Diversent is a Cuban lawyer, now living in the United States, because she was forced to flee her country. She has a beautiful name, doesn’t she? The last name is of French-Haitian origin.

I met her at the Oslo Freedom Forum. She told me her story, in brief outline, and I will relate it to you.

Her father “worked in the fields,” as she puts it. He had fought in the Sierra Maestra with Fidel Castro. He was always loyal to the regime — right to the end. (He passed away some years ago.) Laritza’s mother is still living, and is in Cuba. She has a handicap (unspecified, and I don’t feel like pressing).

Was Laritza political, when she was a girl? No. She was indifferent to politics. She never wanted to be involved in the Communist Youth League or anything like that. Her parents told her to study as much as she could, to maximize her opportunities in the future. That’s what she did.

Like a great many dissidents, Laritza Diversent is Afro-Cuban. Did she ever suffer racial discrimination? Of course, she says — from schooldays onward. Black women, in particular, have a hard time of it, she says. Cuban men say that black women smell like monkeys and sweat too much and so on.



https://www.radiotelevisionmarti.com/a/cubanos-participan-en-el-oslo-freedom-forum-2019/239802.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1561386276_47107.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.paginasiete.bo/ideas/2019/6/23/feminicidios-los-crimenes-que-oculta-el-socialismo-221672.html (ESPANOL)

Cuba/CCBE: Situation of lawyers in the Republic of Cuba

October 1, 2018

Image result for ccbe

I am writing to you on behalf of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), which represents the Bars and Law Societies of 45 countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers. The CCBE places great emphasis on respect for human rights and the Rule of Law, and is particularly concerned with the situation of human rights defenders around the world.
The CCBE would like to express its concern regarding the situation of lawyers in Cuba.
According to the information received by the CCBE, the criminal justice system is being used to harass lawyers and human rights defenders who have been critical of the Cuban authorities. The use of broad provisions in the Penal Code such as “dangerousness”, are regularly used to threaten or charge people who are perceived to be a threat to the State.
The CCBE understands that lawyers can only work in the public system and that it is difficult for independent human rights lawyers to work legitimately as it is problematic for them to obtain licenses for legal self-employment.

Click to access EN_HRL_20181001_Cuba_Situation-of-lawyers-in-the-Republic-of-Cuba.pdf


http://www.onbc.cu/ (ESPANOL)

https://centrocubalex.com/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.cubanet.org/noticias/abogado-julio-ferrer-recibe-respuesta-minrex/ (ESPANOL)

Cuba: El Tribunal Supremo rechaza el hábeas corpus en favor del activista preso César Iván Mendoza


El Tribunal Supremo de Cuba negó la solicitud de hábeas corpus en favor de César Iván Mendoza Regal, promovida por Boris González Arenas, miembro de la opositora Mesa de Unidad de Acción Democrática (MUAD).

Con el fallo, “el tribunal desoyó igualmente la solicitud de vista (…) lo que le habría permitido precisar a los jueces del tribunal los detalles del caso”, indicó González Arenas en una nota de prensa.

La petición de hábeas corpus en favor de César Iván Mendoza Regal fue elevada al Tribunal Supremo luego de un proceso de apelación del fallo emitido el pasado 17 de mayo de 2018 por el Tribunal Provincial de La Habana, que declaró “improcedente y sin lugar la solicitud”, recordó González Arenas.

En su apelación al Tribunal Supremo, seguida de cerca por el abogado Julio Alfredo Ferrer Tamayo, del Centro de Información Legal Cubalex, González Arenas alegaba que “la medida cautelar de prisión provisional dictada contra César Iván Mendoza Regal se ha extendido por más de 60 días, límite que ‘no debe exceder’ la instrucción del expediente de fase preparatoria”, según dispone la Ley de Procedimiento Penal en su Artículo 107.








Cuba: Entrevista a Laritza Diversent, Cubalex: ‘La sociedad civil cubana desaprovecha los mecanismos para denunciar violaciones de derechos humanos’. Diario de Cuba.



Obligado por el régimen cubano al exilio, el equipo del Centro de Información Legal (Cubalex) ha sufrido un “cambio radical y doloroso”. Sin embargo, reorganizado en EEUU, pretende continuar “la misma línea” de su proyecto: “elevar el récord de denuncia internacional contra el Estado cubano por la violación de los derechos humanos y visibilizar la situación del país”.

Su directora, Laritza Diversent, habla con DIARIO DE CUBA sobre algunos aspectos del trabajo de la organización, lo que ha dejado atrás, pero sobre todo acerca del porqué de las líneas establecidas y los procedimientos que utilizarán ante las nuevas circunstancias.

¿Cómo se ha reorganizado Cubalex en el exilio?

Cubalex se registró en el estado de Tennessee en los EEUU. Actualmente tenemos una Junta Directiva que gobierna la organización. El equipo, en el que me incluyo, trabaja online porque residimos en diferentes estados, la mayoría en Pennsylvania.

¿Qué ha representado para los miembros de Cubalex tener que abandonar la Isla?

Ha sido difícil aceptar que forzosamente tienes que iniciar una nueva vida, asumir nuevas costumbres, adaptarte a una nueva idiosincrasia. Se extraña todo, especialmente el aroma del café en la terraza donde nos reuníamos casi todas las mañanas para empezar nuestra labor, trabajar en un mismo espacio físico y atender personalmente a quienes nos visitaban en la oficina en Cuba. Hoy nos vemos a través de una pantalla. Ha sido un cambio radical, difícil y doloroso. No han faltado las lágrimas de nostalgia en cada uno de nosotros.









Cuba: Entre detenciones arbitrarias y desaparición forzada en Cuba


Lic. Laritza Diversent, Directora Ejecutiva Cubalex

Lía Villares fue detenida el 20 de diciembre de 2017 aproximadamente a las 5:00 pm y liberada a en la madrugada del 22. Efectivos de la Seguridad del Estado la llevaron a la estación policial ubicada entre las calles Zapata y C, en el Vedado y según las autoridades, fue trasladada a la estación policial del municipio Cotorro. Sin embargo, en este último centro de detención confirmaron a familiares y amigos, que la artista nunca llegó a ese lugarDurante 33 horas las autoridades policiales se negaron a dar información sobre su paradero.

Maria Cristina Labrada Varona fue detenida el 21 de diciembre de 2017 aproximadamente a las 11:00 am en el municipio Diez de Octubre, en la capital. Berta Soler, llamó al número de urgencias de la PNR y le informaron que estaba detenida en la Estación policial ubicada en Aguilera en el mismo municipio. Se comunicó vía telefónica con varias estaciones y en todas le negaron su presencia. Fue liberada el 22 de diciembre en horas del medio día.

El artista Luis Trápaga denunció la desaparición de Lia Villares en la estación policial del Cotorro. En la copia del documento de la denuncia, la policía consignó que Lia Villares se encontraba “ausente de su domicilio desde las 17:00 horas del 20/12/17 desconociéndose hasta ese momento su paradero”, a sabiendas de que había sido detenida por agentes del estado. La artista estuvo detenida todo el tiempo es esa estación policial.





https://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/laritza-diversent-on-poli_b_416786.html (ENGLISH)

(Lawyer Laritza Diversent, Executive Director of Cubalex Leah Villares, was arrested on December 20, 2017 at approximately 5:00 pm and released in the early hours of December 22. Security forces of the state took her to the police station between Zapata and C streets, and according to the authorities she was transferred to the police station of  the municipality.)

Cuba: El régimen escala otro peldaño en la represión contra el pueblo cubano


Raúl Castro ocupó un segundo plano respecto a su delfín, el vicepresidente Díaz-Canel, que llevó el peso del acto. (EFE/Alejandro Ernesto)

Con el encarcelamiento de Osmel Ramírez, un declarado partidario del socialismo democrático, el régimen escala otro peldaño en la represión contra el pueblo cubano en los últimos años.

La historia de detenciones, secuestros, fusilamientos exprés y abusos de todo tipo del castrismo, a diestra y siniestra, es tan vieja, polícroma y masiva que varios grupos investigadores independientes que llevan ya algunos años trabajando en Cuba y en EE UU no han logrado ponerse al día e inventariar y documentar la mayoría de estos hechos, incluidos fusilamientos políticos y desaparecidos.

El artista Luis Manuel Otero, que pretendía celebrar la Bienal de La Habana, suspendida por el régimen, fue deteneido arbitrariamente. El líder de la Juventud Activa Cuba Unida (JACU), Roberto Jiménez Gutiérrez, fue detenido cuando se dirigía a Miami y estuvo preso e incomunicado durante dieciséis días en 100 y Aldabó. Muchos activistas de la UNPACU y de otras organizaciones opositoras han sido detenidos en esos últimos meses. Cubalex, una organización de abogados independientes que asesoraba a opositores, fue intervenida y desmantelada íntegramente. Sus miembros acabaron refugiándose en EE UU.






http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article150602062.html (ENGLISH)