Derechos humanosDictaduraPolítica

Cuban Political prisoners grow up to 142

Press release, April 1, 2019


1. Changes in the total number of Convicted of Conscience and Condemned of Conscience

In the last 15 days of the month of March 2019, the NGO Cuban Prisoners Defenders has observed how the list of political prisoners has suffered a slight increase as the Convicted of Conscience has remained stable (87 current compared to 88 in March 14th), but the Condemned of Conscience have increased in 5 convicts who have gone from a prison regime to a domiciliary regime (from 18 have become 23). At the same time, the list of political prisoners not included in the previous categories has remained stable at 32.

The total number of political prisoners reaches now 142 prisoners compared to 138 reported just 15 days ago.

2. Factors triggering the increase of political prisoners

The main factor triggering the increase of the list of political prisoners from Cuban Prisoners Defenders has been that, with the adoption of this list by relevant governments, institutions and international organizations, the diffusion and notoriety of it has grown outside and, very specially, within Cuba, among the opposition organizations themselves. This has resulted in the emergence of cases that previously did not appear in any of the previously more widespread lists of political prisoners, although some of the cases were even publicly denounced in various institutions by their organizations.

Such is the case, to give two examples, of Josiel Guia Piloto and Jesús Alfredo Pérez Rivas, president the first and activist the second, of the Republican Party of Cuba. Without appearing on several circulating lists prior to Cuban Prisoners Defenders’ list, their organizations were nevertheless actively fighting for their freedom.

After studying the cases, the team of jurists from Cuban Prisoners Defenders has been able to verify that Josiel and Jesús Alfredo were shadowed illegally, and without any cause alleged in the process, later detained and shackled, both, and afterwards accused of false crimes of Offence and Public Disorders, Josiel, and Public Disorders, Offence, and Resistance, Jesús Alfredo, produced, according to the court itself, AFTER their detention, without even taking testimony from any of the 40 alleged witnesses of the «public disorder» that the judges mentioned in the court decision, nor even were those mentioned in the testimonial of the trial, thus at the same time the judges wrote explicitly that «there were inconsistencies between what was stated in the investigative file and in the act of the oral trial before the witnesses Lander Otero Moreno and Alexander Lafarge Tuesday» (the two, agents of the State Security dressed as civilians at the time of detention). Despite this singular and extravagant process, Josiel was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment and Jesús Alfredo, meanwhile, to 6 years. The judicial file report of both cases, like all those that are adopted by Cuban Prisoners Defenders, has been submitted to the most important international organizations.

Insofar as Cuban Prisoners Defenders deepens its field investigations, we do not discard the emergence of new cases as obvious as those mentioned above and that still do not belong to any of the prisoners of conscience lists that have been in circulation so far. In fact, and as we have been reiterating, political prisoners in Cuba are counted in thousands, because the immense totality of them are not adopted, nor are they attached to any organised opposition, and therefore their anonymity before and after their confinement is complete.

3. Cuban Justice is absent … and negligent

Taking the previous case as an example, it surprises and scandalizes any jurist of a Rule of Law’s State (not the case of Cuba) the lack of judicial praxis that is to have 40 supposed witnesses of a fact and not to take a single testimony in a case of public disorder, where it is precisely the impact on the citizenry what generates the presumed crime, when in addition witness on behalf of the State’s party, the political police, testify in an «incongruous» manner according to the criteria of the judges themselves. However, the most absolute judicial incongruity is usual in all of the political trials of the analysed 142 cases by Cuban Prisoners Defenders.

The Cuban justice regime shows itself, in the opinion of lawyers from Cuban Prisoners Defenders, not only as partial, arbitrary and motivated purely on political and conscience aspects, but at the same time irreparably negligent.

4. Pre-criminal Social Dangerousness: thousands of prisoners of conscience in Cuba’s prisons

We must again highlight that the list of political prisoners contains 10 Convicted of Conscience and 3 Condemned of Conscience for this type of crime, “pre-criminal social dangerousness”. Approximately 10% of the political prisoners attached to known organised opposition.

This type of “crime”, that permits up to a 4-year confinement, has been denounced year after year, among many other reputable international organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

All those convicted of this crime, whatever their sentence is, are by definition of conscience, a result of abuse against defenceless citizens «disaffected» with the «moral» of the regime, paraphrasing the common court rulings texts in this type of crime. Cuban Prisoners Defenders has the confirmation that there are thousands of Convicted and Condemned of Conscience for this type of crime in Cuban prisons and in-house arrest with forced labor.

Suffice it to reiterate that this type of crime is covered by the so-called «dangerousness», which is defined by the Cuban Penal Code (Article 72) as «the special proclivity to commit crimes in which a person finds himself, demonstrated by the behaviour observed in manifest contradiction with the norms of socialist morality». These «dangerous» citizens, according to article 78 of the same Penal Code, can be applied «pre-criminal security measures” discretionally by the judges, as established in the Criminal Code and the Law of Criminal Procedure, which «may be decreed to prevent commission of crimes». That is, before a citizen can commit a crime, in order to prevent it, is the Cuban State the one that previously commits it de facto.

For example, in the case of Marbel Mendoza Reyes, activist of UNPACU and Convicted de Conscience in prison Ceiba- 4, in Artemisa, judges decreed this measure on December 18, 2017, separating her from her very young son, depriving him of his mother. As if this was not enough, the regime also expelled the child from the School of Music «Paulita Concepción», in Cerro, Havana, when he was in his fifth year, because of the pro-democracy activism of his mother.

This practice is the most usual criminal offense for those who dissent in Cuba. Critics and their families are deprived of specialised education, university and a job, for which they are also socially stigmatized and later accused of «pre-criminal social dangerousness», depriving them of their freedom. A repressive apparatus perfectly greased as if, analogous to the Matrix universe, human beings were used in Cuba to feed the self-oppressive system, or discarded as expendable material, without the slightest role of freedom of choice.

5. Analysis on the time-length of criminal convictions

Regarding the duration of the sentences, we see that the average number of convictions in the Convicts of Conscience increases 3 months compared to the list published on March 14, and it stands at 4 years, maintaining the standard deviation of the series in 2 years and 9 months.

Political activism in Cuba is paid, therefore, with an average sentence of 4 years of deprivation of liberty.

6. Convicted of Conscience that have been released or have passed to domiciliary regime

In March, Convicted of Conscience Alejandro Morales Alonso, from the Citizen Movement, Reflection and Reconciliation, was released by termination of sentence.

Convicted of Conscience Eduardo Enrique Hernández Toledo, from the Independent Trade Union Association of Cuba, and the brothers Alberto Antonio Ramírez Odio and Leonardo Ramírez Odio, both from UNPACU, passed the three of them to conditional freedom, so that at any time, and under any pretext, as we are already accustomed, they may return again to confinement.

7. Trials that have taken place in the month of March

During the month of March, we were reported of the celebration of 3 political trials against opponents.

Two of them already adopted by Cuban Prisoners Defenders, with long periods of preventive confinement, were tried in the Courts of Havana, without the court decision being known until now:

  • Aymara Nieto Muñoz, activist from UNPACU and Lady in White
  • Maykel Castillo Pérez, independent renegade artistRosario Morales de la Rosa, “Lady in White Laura Pollán’s Legacy”, was tried by the Municipal Court of East Havana for Public Disorders and sentenced to 1 year of Deprivation of Liberty subsidized for the same period of term of Correctional Work Without Internment. It is awaiting receipt of the final written court decision, at which point it would swell the list of Convicted Conscience from Cuban Prisoners Defenders.8. Most repressed pacific opposition organizations

    Regarding the organizations to which the activists (110) who are convicted and/or condemned belong, the most prominent group is still the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), with 51 convicted or convicted conscience activists, 46% of the total registered in Cuba:

Party Condemned & Convicted % from total

Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU)



Ladies in White (includes various groups)



National Front of Civic Resistance Orlando Zapata Tamayo (FNRCOZT)



Democratic Freedom Movement for Cuba (MLDC)



Pro Democratic Movement Pedro Luis Boitel



Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel












Cuban Prisoners Defenders is an independent group of analysis, study and action, with the collaboration of all dissident groups on the island and the families of political prisoners to gather information and promote the freedom of all political prisoners, as well as to maintain the updated weekly lists of Convicted of Conscience (cases of deprivation of liberty and correctional work), Condemned of Conscience (in-house arrest), Political Prisoners (general total and also includes cases of confrontation or acts not properly of conscience) and Long-lasting political prisoners imprisoned.

The group from Cuba is coordinated by Iván Hernández Carrillo (ASIC), Adolfo Fernández Sainz (FNCA) and Javier Larrondo (UNPACU), without these organizations controlling to any degree, allowing a dedicated work to all political prisoners without distinctions and equally. In Madrid’s office, the legal reports have the contribution of another one of the founders of Cuban Prisoners Defenders, the international criminal lawyer Mr. Sebastián Rivero, who, among other experiences, has been a collaborating jurist of the Permanent Ambassador of Spain at the United Nations. The organization also has different patrons from all ideologies, among others several deputies of the National Congress of Spain of different parties, as well as D. Blas Jesús Imbroda, president of the International Criminal Bar (ICB, elected in 2017) and Dean of the Bar Association of Melilla, Spain.

The works of Cuban Prisoners Defenders are adopted by numerous institutions and are sent, among others, to CANF, UNPACU, ASIC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, European Parliament, Congress and Senate of the United States, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, People In Need, CubaArchive, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN for Latin America and the Caribbean, Real Instituto Elcano, Fundación Transición Española, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, FANTU, Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel, Independent Pedagogues College of Cuba, Freedom House, Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL), FAES, Ladies in White y Citizen Movement Reflection and Reconciliation, among many other institutions and organizations.

REQUEST FOR REPORTS: Entities wishing to receive the work of Cuban Prisoners Defenders (list of political prisoners and of conscience, legal studies of political prisoners, legal studies on Cuba, studies on repression and prisons in Cuba, etc) please contact Cuban Prisoners Defenders at or by phone / whatsapp at +34 647564741.

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