14ymedio, Havana, October 21, 2019 — “I still don’t know the whereabouts of José Daniel Ferrer,” reported Nelva Ortega Tamayo, wife of the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), arrested on October 1 in Santiago de Cuba.
In an interview with 14ymedio this Sunday, Ortega Tamayo explained that the habeas corpus she presented last Thursday to obtain information on the situation of the opposition figure has been rejected by authorities.
She also detailed that the lawyer who is advising her, Julio Ferrer, wrote a report explaining that the police violated article 241 of the Law of Penal Procedure by raiding their home and detaining the Unpacu leader without presenting an arrest warrant nor a search warrant.
The court suggests that José Daniel Ferrer was arrested after an inquiry at a preparatory stage was opened on him, a process that began on October 3, and it was then that the arrest warrant was issued.
The document also explains that José Daniel Ferrer has a preventative measure of remand in custody, issued on October 7, but the crime he is accused of is not specified, nor is the prison where he is held.
“I have only been able to see him once since the arrest, on the 4th in the Operations criminal investigation; here they say of that place ’everyone sings,’ but he is no longer there. I saw him greatly weakened, he has lost weight, he told me that he’s hardly drinking any water because it’s murky, blackish. The conditions are inhuman.
He told me that he is living there with two rats who walk over his feet. The mattress they give him is full of sweat, it stinks, because that place is really hot. The toilet is in full view of everyone, there’s no privacy. They don’t give him his medication and the food is dreadful,” says Ortega.
Civil society organizations in Cuba, as well as Amnesty International, Freedom House, Cuban Prisoners Defense, the United States government, and the secretary general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, have denounced the irregularities of the legal process in the case of the Unpacu leader and have demanded the release of the opposition figure.
Amnesty International launched an urgent action, criticized the irregularities of the case, and affirmed that Ferrer García should be informed of the charges against him, or, if not, be released.
Nelva Ortega is worried that they will try to prosecute her husband for a common crime. “In the interrogations they told him that they are tired of his activism, that he was nobody to get information on the lives of leaders on social media. That he had approved Trump’s measures, that they would not allow him to crush the achievements of the Revolution,” is what her husband told her in the brief visit she was able to have more than 15 days ago.
She also explained that they warned him that this time they weren’t going to prosecute him as a political prisoner, but rather for a common crime of harm so that “the international pressure that he has had and that there was at the time of the Black Spring would disappear.”
“For a mother this is very difficult, when they arrested my husband my son was only three months old, now he’s four months, he is a wonderful father and husband. Here at Unpacu we continue helping those who need it as always, although we don’t even have a place to sit down,” she added.
She also related that a few days ago she visited the Aguadores prison looking for answers on her husband’s whereabouts but they told her there that he wasn’t on the lists because it was a “personal case” of State Security.
Ortega confessed that she fears for José Daniel Ferrer’s life and his health, which is why she is demanding “proof that he as well and that the other three Unpacu activists” are well.
Ernesto Oliva Torres also presented the same appeal of habeas corpus in favor of José Pupo, Fernando González, and Roilán Zárraga, who are in the same situation as Ferrer, and he expects a response this Monday.
Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera
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