Cuba: Jose Daniel Ferrer Denounces ‘a Constant Noise in His Head, like Crickets’

José Daniel Ferrer (right), during a brief visit to the prison by his son (left), on October 8. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, November 8, 2021 — Cuban Prisoners Defenders (CPD) has requested that the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, intercede “immediately” in favor of dissident José Daniel Ferrer, leader of Unión Patriótica de Cuba (Patriotic Union of Cuba — Unpacu), imprisoned since July 11th.

In a communication published on Monday, the organization, headquartered in Madrid, denounced that Ferrer is being “tortured, is sick and intoxicated with psycho-pharmaceuticals” in Mar Verde prison in Santiago, Cuba.

In their document, CPD noted that the dissident was detained on 11 July before he was able to reach the protest that, similar to those in dozens of cities across the Island, took place in Santiago, and that he was not permited to call his wife, Doctor Nelva Ismarays Ortega, until October 19.

During the call, noted the communication from the NGO, Ferrer denounced that his cell, where he has been held during almost four months of confinement and from which he has not left to get sun (he is only taken for 10 minutes into the hallway, the activist says), it is “completely shuttered,” painted white, and in it “air does not flow, there isn’t a window to the outside, you cannot see absolutely anything outside.”

Furthermore, he denounced “a constant noise in my head as if there were crickets chirping constantly in an unbearable manner,” which produces a constant headache. CPD asserts that during that call and also in a second call, which occurred on November 5th, they could hear “a constant noise very similar to crickets.”

“Their reluctance to move him to another cell, as well as his treatment within it,” denounces the organization, “indicate that this particular cell may be technologically prepared for torture.” According to Ferrer, as told to his wife, his cell is surrounded by two empty punishment cells which do have windows.

The dissident, continues the text, “began a hunger strike after the first call, so they’d transfer him to another cell with some ventilation,” but instead of transferring him to one of the neighboring cells, the prison guards called a crew of masons who opened a hole and put in a small window.

“Going through that effort of masonry, compared to the alternative of transferring him to a neighboring cell, suggests that his cell could be fitted not only with cameras, but also with any technology designed to create noise and waves, to which José Daniel attributes his very intense and recurring headache,” claims the NGO.

It is important to note that one hypothesis of the origins of the so-called Havana Syndrome, to which CPD refers in its document, which has caused 200 American diplomats and their family members headaches and other neurological disorders, is that a sound “like crickets” serves to camouflage some type of attack with radio frequency energy.

Prisoners Defenders also denounces that, in addition to recurring headaches, Ferrer suffers from oral bleeding, shortness of breath and loss of vision, and has not been given proper medication.

On the contrary, explains the NGO, he is being given Alprazolam, “one of the three most potent oral benzodiazepines on the market, which has been shown to cause suicidal tendencies and slowed respiration, two of the symptoms experienced by Ferrer, among other serious side effects of the drug.”

They also injected the dissident, against his will, with the Abdala vaccine, assuring him that the World Health Organization had approved it. “Faced with these blatant hoaxes, it is not even possible to know if it was truly the vaccine, or another drug,” says CPD, which signaled that the family fears that “causing him altered states of consciousness will provide an excuse for the regime to seclude him in an psychiatric institution, which would allow them to cause harm further injuries.”

In addition, the organization states “these practices against political prisoners have been used on other occasions,” as in the cases of Óscar Peña and Adrián Cedeño.

In addition to the request to Josep Borrell, Prisoners Defenders addressed “the European Commission, the Government of Canada, the Government of Norway, and any governments through which the regime continues to benefit from financial and political assets, and thus have the space and the tools to demand respect for human rights,” so that “they will collaborate immediately to prevent this slow and cruel assasination of a notable defender of human rights.”

Until now, the only family member who has been able to see Ferrer in prison has been his son, José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo, on October 8th, for only 20 minutes and always under surveillance. At that time, the dissident’s family denounced that he was in a “minuscule isolation cell where he remains under inhumane and degrading conditions, semi-nude” and that he was “in very poor health.”

“He could barely to speak to his son,” his sister, Ana Belkis Ferrer said, because since the day before the meeting, the dissident has been experiencing “severe headaches, chills, body aches, and shortness of breath, to such a degree that he requested another Diclofenac [an NSAID] injection.”

José Daniel Ferrer is serving a four-year prison sentence imposed by a tribunal in February of 2020 for the alleged crime of “injuries and deprivation of liberty” against a third person. Up until the moment of his arrest, Unpacu’s national coordinator had been serving his sentence as amended, in 2020, to allow him to serve it under house arrest instead of in prison.

The Popular Provincial Tribunal of Santiago de Cuba justified its decision, on the grounds that Ferrer maintained an “attitude contrary to the requirements to which he must comply” because he had not secured employment and, on various occasions engaged in, “incorrect and defiant behavior toward authorities who were fulfilling their functions.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.