Eduardo Cardet, a Year in Prison for "Political Reasons"

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 December 2017 — Dissident Eduardo Cardet received a visit from his wife Yaimaris Vecino on Monday, in the Holguin prison where has already served a year, after a trial that his family believes was manipulated by Cuban State Security.

Cardet, a doctor by profession and national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), was sentenced on 20 March to three years in prison for a crime of assault on the authority, but he had been in prison since 30 November 2016 while awaiting trial.

After being violently arrested in front of his children at the entrance of his house in the town of Velasco in Holgin province, his appeal for bail was denied three times.

The opponent has suffered from a respiratory infection since his imprisonment, caused by his condition as a chronic asthmatic, and does not receive adequate medication despite the fact that prison officials assured his wife that treatment was guaranteed.

“My husband told me that this is not true because it is difficult for prisoners to access medications,” Vecino tells 14ymedio.

A neighbor says she saw her husband in a good mood, but uneasy about being away from home while his family has recently gone through difficult times. “He regrets not being able to help us and take care of us.”

“When I ask about his transfer [to another prison] they tell me that I will only know when it is carried out,” explains his wife.

Several international human rights organizations have denounced the Cardet case. At the end of last January, Amnesty International called for his “immediate and unconditional” release, saying that the national coordinator of the MLC was “imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.”

It also considers him a prisoner of conscience and states that he was violently arrested a few days after the death of Fidel Castro.

Cardet was a key figure in the Varela Project, promoted by opposition leader Oswaldo Payá. After the death of Payá, Cardet continued his work and in 2014 he was appointed national coordinator of the MLC.

Last Thursday, the movement announced a manifesto signed by international personalities to ask the Government of Cuba for the freedom of prisoners of conscience and in particular that of Eduardo Cardet.

“His arrest a year ago was very wicked, because he was arrested and beaten in front of his children,” said the document, which also claims that it has been a long process “controlled at all times by State Security” and originated “for political reasons.”

The announcement criticizes that Cardet is being subjected to “a severe regime in open violation of the penitentiary laws themselves” in force on the island.

Among the signatories are a former mayor of Madrid, José María Álvarez del Manzano, the President of the Peace and Cooperation Foundation, Joaquín Antuña, and the former president of the European Parliament, Enrique Barón Crespo, among others.

The manifesto asks that the Spanish authorities, “in keeping with the principles of defense of human rights and democracy, do whatever steps are in your power for the quickest release of Eduardo Cardet and other prisoners of conscience in Cuba.” ___________________

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