November 21, 2016
Members of Cubalex, a Havana-based organization of human rights lawyers, have been subjected to months of harassment and intimidation by the Cuban authorities for their work.
Progressively since September, Cuban authorities have intimidated members of Cubalex (Legal Information Center), a non-government organization, not recognized by the Cuban authorities, which provides free legal and human rights advice in Havana, the capital.
On 23 September, according to its director, Laritza Diversent, authorities searched Cubalex’s centre of operation without warrant, confiscated a number of laptops and documents, and forced at least one woman to undress. The provincial prosecutor in Havana provided notice to Cubalex that it was under a tax investigation.
According to Cubalex, since then, state prosecutors have summoned at least two members of the organization for questioning. Cubalex stated that the interviews, which reportedly lasted up to one hour and 45 minutes, were filmed, leading members to believe that the authorities were seeking information to criminalize activities of the organization.
According to Cubalex, authorities have also questioned people who received advice and information from their centre.
Cubalex’s director reported that she has been stopped and questioned a number of times at the airport during her recent trips. She believes her home, which provides a base for Cubalex’s activities, is under surveillance. One of Cubalex’s members, Julio Ferrer Tamayo, reported being strip searched and detained during the search of Cubalex on 23 September and remains in custody.