Catholic prisoners of conscience denied religious assistance

Authorities of the Guanajay Prison in Havana are continuing to deny religious assistance to eight Catholic prisoners of conscience, who have been requesting clergy visits for over nine months.

The prisoners denounced what they consider a violation of religious freedom as outlined in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The eight prisoners in question are Osvaldo Alfonso Valdés, Margarito Broche Espinosa, Carmelo Díaz Fernández, Efrén Fernández Fernández, Jorge Luis González, Marcelo López, Omar Pernet Hernández and Fabio Prieto Llorente.

For his part, Ariel Sigler Amaya, a political prisoner of conscience in the Canaleta Prison in Cieglo de Avila, continues to be held in solitary confinement and denied adequate food and medicine, according to his sister, María Victoria Sigler Amaya.

Sigler is being held in an enclosed, unsanitary cell and his sister says the food he receives is extremely low in nutrition, and he is not allowed to receive vitamin supplements to compensate for the poor diet.  Sigler is also not allowed to have religious books, including the Bible.

Ariel Sigler Amaya is president of a leading dissident group and was sentenced last April during the Government crack down on dissidents to 20 years in prison.

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