14ymedio, Havana, 24 December 2019 — José Daniel Ferrer, the current leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), born in Palma Soriano in 1970, was one of the 75 prisoners of the Black Spring. Sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2003 for his prominent participation in Oswaldo Payá’s Varela Project, he left prison in 2011 following the mediation of the Catholic Church and the Spanish Government which facilitated the release of the Black Spring prisoners.
In 2018 Ferrer was detained for twelve days and charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to run over a State Security officer with his car; an accident caused by the agent, according to the those involved with the activist. But 2019 has been the most difficult year for the opponent since he left prison.
On October 1, he was arrested after an operation in which the police raided several homes of Unpacu activists in Santiago de Cuba. Since then, he has been detained in several police stations and prisons, and during much of the time his whereabouts have been a mystery, as has been what he is accused of, thus preventing his family and his defense from having the ability to respond. Numerous local and international human rights institutions and organizations have cried out for his release without, so far, having any effect, since the Government is accusing him of a serious assault on a citizen.
This November, Cuban television broadcast a video that violated Ferrer’s privacy and the medical profession’s obligation to maintain secrecy, as a doctor openly commented on his state of health. The TV station also presented images of a family visit, without noting that he had been missing for more than a month by that time, and reported that his obvious injuries were self-inflicted. The intention was to discredit Ferrer one day before the European Parliament passed a resolution requesting his immediate release.
See also: 14ymedio’s 14 Faces of 2019
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