Cuban Dissident, Jose Daniel Ferrer, is Held in an Isolation Cell Despite Health Issues, his Family Denounces

The meeting took place “under the custody” of prison guards. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, October 9th, 2021–Dissident, José Daniel Ferrer is currently held in isolation and is suffering health issues, according to his son, the only family member who has been able to visit him since July 11th when he was arrested and subsequently transferred to Mar Verde prison in Santiago de Cuba.

José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo, the son of Union Patriótica de Cuba’s (Unpacu) leader, was able to contact the former Black Spring prisoner last Friday during a 20-minute visit “under the custody” of prison guards, the dissident’s sister reported, Ana Belkis Ferrer García, on Facebook.

“Around 5 pm yesterday, Friday, October 8th, 2021, they allowed a brief visit by one family member; thanks to God and the demands of so many supportive people to whom we are eternally grateful, we confirmed that at least for the moment José Daniel is alive”, she wrote.

She added that her brother is currently locked in a “minuscule isolation cell, where he remains under inhumane and degrading conditions, semi-nude as he is only allowed undergarments,” denounced his sister, who alerted that Unpacu’s leader is “in very poor health”.

Ferrer is suffering from “extremely high” blood pressure and “could barely speak to his son” 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.”

With the support of human rights activists, a few weeks ago the dissident’s family initiated an intense social media campaign demanding that authorities provide “proof of life” of Ferrer García. His sister also insisted that the life of the dissident is in the hands of Raúl Castro and Díaz Canel.

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.”

The dissident has been subjected to permanent repression for many years and has been recognized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which awarded him the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.

Last August, Amnesty International (AI) named him a prisoner of conscience along with artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Hamlet Lavastida; independent reporter Esteban Rodríguez; activist Thais Mailén Franco Benítez; and rapper Maykel Castillo Osorbo. Lavastida and Franco Benítez were both freed in recent days; however, Otero Alcántara, Rodríguez and Osorbo remain incarcerated.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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