14ymedio, Havana, 11 December 2022 — Opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), has been the victim of a beating at the Mar Verde prison in Santiago de Cuba, the Council for Democratic Transition in Cuba charged in a statement. The activist protested against the violation of his correspondence, and the guards responded to his complaint with violence.
Ana Belkis Ferrer García, sister of the opposition leader, detailed in a transmission through the social network Facebook what happened on December 9, during the family visit that the activist received in the prison. The meeting was attended by his wife, Nelva Ismaray Ortega, and two of the dissident’s children, who witnessed the aggressive response of the guards.
“His little daughter, Victoria Fatima Ferrer, who ran to her father’s aid, was also assaulted, as was his wife Nelva. The psychological consequences of this unleashed violence will have a lasting and probably devastating impact on these young children,” the Council added in its statement.
The violence against Ferrer occurred after his wife told him that on November 30, after attending the conjugal visit, she was detained, and the guards confiscated the correspondence that the opposition leader had given her. They read the letters and “returned only some of them but kept the others,” according to the opposition leader’s sister.
Upon learning of this, Ferrer demanded the right of respect for his correspondence in front of the two guards who had been listening all the time to what he was talking about with his family. When the UNPACU leader complained, they began to beat him. “One held him down and the other hit him hard. Fatima, José Daniel’s daughter, tried to intervene to stop them from hitting her father, and they pushed her.
The activist was immobilized. “They covered his mouth because he began to shout ’Down with Raúl Castro, Down with Díaz-Canel, Down with the dictatorship!’ They threw him to the floor,” his sister said. Before he was taken out of the visiting room, the opposition leader managed to tell his wife that he was going on a hunger strike because of the violation of his correspondence and the non-compliance with his phone-call schedule.
For Ana Belkis Ferrer García, the reason for the restrictions on her brother’s phone calls is to prevent “him from making the complaints he made in those few minutes.” She explains that the opposition leader has been in a detention cell for 16 months “in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions. Since he is on a hunger strike, they have taken away all his belongings,” she complains.
“José Daniel Ferrer must be released immediately and unconditionally, in the same way as all political prisoners. All of them are innocent. Amnesty, which is supported by the citizenry, is an appropriate way, supported by the international community that defends human rights,” says the Council for Democratic Transition in Cuba in its texts, and it also demands that “the perpetrators, uniformed or not, be punished for this atrocious and barbaric display of violence.”
Ferrer is one of nearly 1,000 political prisoners being held by the regime since the mass protests of July 11, 2021, or after the demonstrations of recent months.
Translated by: Hombre de Paz
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