In just three days on May 28, it will be three months that our brother and friend Angel Santiesteban Prats has been locked up in a Castro regime concentration paying the price of an unjust sentence for crimes he did not commit. We issue this statement to denounce to international public opinion his living conditions and the treatment he and those with whom he shares this hell receive; people whose principles of solidarity and commitment to the dignity they still have not been able to kill.
Yesterday, May 24, Angel finally received the much awaited visit from his family and friends, a visit he is allowed only once a month. This is what has happened to him in Prison 1580:
– His jailers, obeying orders from the top brass of the criminal State Security, determined who would come to see him and who wouldn’t, violating Angel’s right to receive them and his visitors’ rights to see him.
– Knowing that Angel hardly eats, family and friends have brought food, as usual. They let in some, but the juice boxes he always keeps in reserve for when it has no food, were opened by the guards. It seems they do not understand that you can not hide powder in a liquid medium.
– Before he could go to meet their relatives, Angel was stripped and checked twice, as if he were an armed criminal. It seems they have not yet realized that his only weapons are his courage and his words.
After the visit, we denounce that the repression against Angel and his companions increases more every day.
Angel has again spent four days in a punishment cell and they have seized all the letters and papers in his possession.
All his companions are being threatened, especially those who are closest to him, and are searched constantly, as his is family. One of his companions, whose letters were also seized, was transferred to a prison in Santa Clara, violating another law: that prisoners remain close to their homes and their families.
In a new attempt to dissuade him, they have offered to send Angel to a painted, clean and well-lit cell where he could write in peace, where he could hang what he wanted on the walls and even sunbathe. He went to see it, but rejected it outright on discovering that the sole purpose of so much generosity was to further isolate him from the rest of the prisoners. Finally, he was held in a tiny, uninhabitable cell with the mattress taken out from 6am to 6pm.
Given these flagrant violations of Angel’s rights of and the rights of all inmates in Prison 1580, we want to make it clear once again that we hold Raul Castro responsible for the integrity of Angel and that of all his companions. And we also want to once again appeal to the conscience of the “journalists” of the Commission who visited Castro’s jails and who stamped with their hypocrisy the abuses that have been committed against prisoners, whether common or of conscience, for 54 years.
Everything that happens in 1580 is repeated in all the prisons of the island and the “journalists” know it, as all the government friends of the dictator Castro also know.
We demand an end to the repression and violation of human rights of Angel and all his companions. We also demand that Angel be released immediately and be given to a new trial with all procedural safeguards he never had.
It is time that the regime understands that the world is watching what they are doing with Angel and that sooner or later they will pay for it.
And echoing what Angel wrote in a post a couple of days ago, we expect the Rapporteur that the UN sends to Cuba to be honest and to visit those whom he should visit and collect their complaints.
On behalf of the family and friends of Angel Santisteban-Prats,
25 May 2013