Two imprisoned Cuban dissidents being subjected to cruel treatment

Oswaldo Paya of the Christian Liberation Movement
Oswaldo Paya of the Christian Liberation Movement


Two Cuban prisoners who are members of the Christian Liberation Movement are facing “torture and systematic ruthless treatment” at a provincial prison after they declared a hunger strike to protest abuses by the State Security and prison guards.

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas, Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, said in an August 11 message sent from Havana that prisoners in the provincial prison of Las Tunas report the “grave situation” of Alfredo Domínguez Batista and José Daniel Ferrer, who declared the hunger strike.

“José Daniel Ferrer has been confined to a cell where he must sleep on the floor and where rats constantly appear out of the hole that serves as his bathroom. It is difficult to imagine a cell with crueler conditions,” Payá related.

Alfredo Domínguez has been sent to a “Dantesque” place of punishment known as “Potosí,” far away from the prison. He reportedly was confined without clothes in another cage called the “punishment cell,” where mosquitoes feed on his unprotected body.

Guards at the prison have provoked the prisoners with taunts and tricks about visits. Some have lied to the prisoners’ families when they came to the prison to ask about their loved ones.

“This torturous regimen is destroying these peaceful prisoners, who are organizers of the Varela Project,” reported Payá.

The Varela Project is a democratic Cuban movement which seeks greater religious and political freedoms for the country.

Payá said it was urgent that governments and organizations around the world, including Amnesty International, protest and take action to stop this “torture and systematic ruthless treatment” of the prisoners.

“While the minutes go by, they suffer horribly in both body and mind from the inhumane conditions to which the government of Cuba subjects them,” his message concluded.

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