‘Minors Are the Most Tortured’ in Cuban Prisons, Denounces Prisoners Defenders

Prisoners Defenders asserts that the Cuban regime “tortures each and every one of its 1,048 political prisoners,” (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 May 2023 — The organization Prisoners Defenders (PD) presented a new report on torture in Cuba on Tuesday, after collecting the statements of 181 political prisoners, including seven women and four minors (16 to 18 years old, the criminal age on the Island).

In an online press conference, the president of the NGO based in Madrid, Javier Larrondo, asserted that the Cuban regime “tortures each and every one of its political prisoners,” which PD currently puts at 1,048.

Of them, Larrondo said, “children, minors, are the most tortured.” In this regard, he gave the examples of Jonathan Torres Farrat, arrested for demonstrating on July 11, 2021, who has suffered the 15 types of torture identified in the NGO report, and Gabriela Zequeira Hernández, arrested at the same age and for the same reason, on whom they have inflicted 14 types of torture.

This young woman, they report, also suffered sexual abuse in prison, at the hands of an agent who warned her “that she was a lesbian” and “put her finger into her vagina,” reads the organization’s report.

This report is an extension of the one that PD presented last year and that documented “15 patterns of ill-treatment and torture” in Cuban prisons: deprivation of medical care, forced labor outside of their criminal conviction, obligation to maintain uncomfortable or harmful positions, solitary confinements, use of temperature as a mechanism of torture, physical aggression, transfer to unknown locations, intentional disorientation, deprivation of water, food and sleep, non-communication with lawyers and relatives, threats to their integrity and that of their loved ones, deployment of weapons and elements of torture, intentional submission to anguish and uncertainty due to the situation of a family member, and humiliation, degradation and verbal abuse.

“All these forms of torture are applied in a widespread and systematic way, without any limitation, except (we can intuit) the conscientious objection of some commanders or guards. It is alarming that all the most common tortures are, if we analyze them, a set of simple and direct tools, and that they do not require excessive need for control,” the report denounces.

The data of this complaint will be transferred to various international organizations such as the United Nations Committees against Torture and the Rights of the Child, as well as the Human Rights Council and several special organization speakers. The data will also be sent to Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and embassies and representatives of more than 50 democratic governments, among other recipients.

The press conference was also attended by the Cuban jurist Fernando Almeyda — an activist of the Archipelago group who went into exile in February 2022 — in charge of collecting a large part of the cases, as well as several European deputies, including Leopoldo López Gil, Javier Nart and the vice president of the European Parliament, Dita Charanzová.

Both Larrondo and Nart attacked the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, for not having pronounced on the political prisoners on his recent visit to Cuba.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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