Cuban Prisoner of Conscience Silverio Portal Loses Sight of One Eye in Prison

Portal Contreras, 72, was sentenced to four years in prison for the alleged crimes of public disorder and contempt. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 May 2020 — Silverio Portal Contreras, a member of the opposition organization Independent and Democratic Cuba and prisoner 2018, has lost the vision of an eye after suffering an attack by State Security agents as reported on Radio Martí by his wife, also an activist, Lucinda González.

The opposition activist received a phone call from Prison 1580, in San Miguel del Padrón, Havana, from another prisoner, who informed her of what had happened.

“Yesterday a prisoner called me [and said] that he had already left the punishment cell, and that he can’t see out of the eye where he was hit,” González said Thursday.

Portal Contreras, 72, was sentenced to four years in prison for the alleged crimes of public disorder and contempt, legal charges frequently employed by the authorities to imprison the opposition.

Since entering prison, his health problems have been frequent. Three months after arriving, he suffered a thrombosis that paralyzed one side of his face, and he has been treated for two strokes and has hypertension problems.

On April 10, González asked for her husband’s case to be reviewed through a letter to the Supreme People’s Court in Old Havana.

González denounced the situation of Portal Contreras, who, in her opinion, has been denied all the benefits that an inmate can enjoy. Delivering the letter, according to she herself, she told the official she is convinced that her husband will die in prison.

On May 14, State Security showed up at his home to look for Portal Contreras’ medicines and other belongings. “An inmate called me and tolds me that he is in a punishment cell because they gave him a tremendous beating. I suppose it was the 15th or the 16th. When I ask, they tell me that it was the officer who called himself Pedro and Major Seoul of State Security,” explained González.

This Tuesday, a different prisoner called her to tell her that her husband was no longer in the punishment cell but that telephone calls were prohibited.

Just last week, the Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Havana, Mara Tekach, called attention to the health of Portal Contreras, who was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 2019.


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