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Cuban Prisoner of Conscience Enters Fourth Week on Hunger Strike
By Cuban Democratic Directorate

Sister declares solidarity strike after being repressed by Communist authorities

UPDATED August 21, 2009. Prisoner of conscience José Daniel Ferrer García ended his strike on Monday, Augus 17, after being removed from the punshiment cell according to reports his sister Ana Belkis Ferrer Garcia to the Cuban Democratic Directorate by telephone to the Cuban Democratic Directorate. Upon the reestablishment of telephone contact, which had been suspended throughout the previous week, Ana Beliks reported that she ended her own strike after confirming José Daniel had ended his.


Las Tunas, Cuba. August 19, 2009. Cuban Democratic Directorate. A hunger strike launched by two Cuban prisoners of conscience has entered its fourth week, sources on the island reported. Additionally, the sister of one of the prisoners has begun her own hunger strike in solidarity.


José Daniel Ferrer García and Alfredo Domínguez Batista, who were imprisoned by the Communist regime during the Black Spring crackdown of 2003, launched the hunger strike to protest against arbitrary measures and mistreatment against them by prison authorities. Domínguez Batista was moved to a rural prison called El Potosí  on August 14th, where his wife Melba Santana Ariz was able to see him and confirm he had ended his strike. Ferrer García, however, remains in an isolation cell in El Típico Provincial Prison in Las Tunas province as of this writing.


Ana Belkis Ferrer García, José Daniel’s sister, declared her own strike on August 13th, after going before provincial authorities to demand respect for her brother’s rights. Currently, Ana Belkis is carrying out her hunger strike in the city of Santiago, but is out of contact. Her telephone service has been cut off, as well as that of Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva from the Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs of Cuba. Gonzalez Leiva and the Council have been following José Daniel’s case closely.


“Ana Belkis’s health is deteriorating. Her blood pressure is low, she is experiencing abdominal pains, dizziness, and all the symptoms caused by not consuming food,” reported independent journalist Raudel Avila by telephone to the Cuban Democratic Directorate.


Ana Belkis and Amalia García, José Daniel’s mother, held a sit on at the El Típico prison waiting room from August 5th to the 8th, when they were forcibly ejected and removed to their places of residence. These members of the Ladies in White continued their efforts to demand respect for José Daniel’s rights, going before Communist Party authorities in Las Tunas where they were once again repressed. Ana Belkis declared her hunger strike on August 13th.


Similarly, activists Maiky Martorell Mayáns and Asdrúbal Delgado Pérez were detained on the afternoon of Thursday, August 6th at the entrance of the “El Típico” Prison, with the intention of rendering aid to Ferrer García's daugher, Marta Beatriz Ferrer Cantillo, who suffers from diabetes and had been without food and water at the prison during the sit-in.


Ferrer García and Domínguez Batista were transferred to a punishment cell on August 7th by prison authorities in reprisal for their non-violent activism demanding respect for their rights. Ferrer García and Domínguez Batista, both members of the Christian Liberation Movement Amnesty International prisoners of conscience, are serving 25 and 14 years of unjust imprisonment, respectively.


Ferrer García decided to begin the hunger strike months after the prison authorities promised to restore his family visits. Domínguez Batista protested harsh treatment in prison such as being prohibited from taking sunlight. The protest also demands proper medical attention and nutrititon for all political prisoners in critical health condition such as Ariel Sigler Amaya, Alfredo Pulido López, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, and Normando Hernández González.



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