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Human rights activists detained in Cuba

Cuba: activists detained in Cuba

UA: 276/12 Index: AMR 25/022/2012 Cuba Date: 25 September 2012


dozens of cuban opposition activists detained

Members of the Ladies in White have been detained in Havana and several

other places in Cuba. Some remain in detention and the authorities have

failed to provide reasons for their detention or information on their


From 21 to 24 September the Ladies in White () held

several activities, including masses and marches in Havana, to celebrate

the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy (Virgin de la Merced) and in memory

of former political activists. Since 20 September, various members of

the Ladies in White have received intimidating notes aimed at preventing

them from taking part in activities. Reports from the group state that

the headquarters in Neptuno Street, Havana have been surrounded by


Around 50 members of the group, who travelled from different provinces

of Cuba to attend the activities, were on their way to Havana.

The majority of them were released and back to their provinces,

however 19 remain detained and their whereabouts are unknown. On 24

September as the Ladies in White planned to attend mass, an act of

repudiation ( see background information) took place at

their headquarters. Government supporters and state agents gathered in

the street chanting pro-government slogans and intimidating the women.

In the early morning of 25 September 18 members of the Ladies in White

were arrested at the headquarters.

Amnesty International believes that the repeated use of short term

detentions of members of the Ladies in White and other activists in Cuba

is a tactic used to silence voices in the country and prevent

peaceful activities. Furthermore the systematic arrest of activists

travelling from the provinces to Havana represents an excessive

limitation to of movement and represents excessive control and

harassments of dissidents.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

Calling on the authorities to reveal immediately the identity and

whereabouts of all members of the Ladies in White arrested between 21-25


Urging them to immediately release the detained members, unless there is

sufficient evidence to charge them with an internationally recognizable

criminal offence;

Urging them to immediately cease the harassment and intimidation of

members of the Ladies in White and all other citizens who seek to

peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of and

association, and immediately stop arbitrary restrictions on freedom of

movement of Cubans inside Cuba.



Raúl Castro Ruz

de la República de Cuba

La Habana, �Cuba

Fax: +53 7 83 33 085 (via Foreign Ministry); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban

Mission to UN)

Email: (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)

Salutation: Your Excellency

Interior Minister

General Abelardo Coloma Ibarra

Ministro del Interior y Prisiones

Ministerio del Interior, �Plaza de la Revolución, �La Habana, Cuba

Fax: +537 85 56 621; +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)


Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Attorney General

Dr Darío Delgado Cura

Fiscal General de la República, �Fiscalía General de la República,

Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella, Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba

Salutation: Dear Attorney General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above



dozens of cuban opposition activists detained

ADditional Information

Acts of repudiation (actos de repudio) are government coordinated

demonstrations, usually carried out in front of the homes of political

opponents, attended by government supporters, state officials and law

enforcement agencies aimed at harassing and intimidating opponents and

are often used to prevent them from travelling to participate in

activities. During an , political opponents and human

rights activists are subjected to verbal and physical abuse by groups of

people chanting pro-government slogans. Police are usually present but

fail to intervene to stop the assaults. Such incidents frequently

involve the Rapid Response Brigades (Brigadas de Respuesta Rápida), a

structure set up in 1991 and composed of Communist Party volunteers

whose task is to deal with any sign of 'counter-revolution'.

Local human rights activists and others believe these incidents are

orchestrated by Cuba's security services to intimidate any opposition.

The Ladies in White was formed by a group of female relatives of the 75

prisoners of conscience who were imprisoned in March 2003 for their

peaceful expression of critical opinions of the government. The group

would attend mass every Sunday in the capital, Havana, dressed in white,

to pray for the release of their relatives. Afterwards they would take

part in a procession from the church to a nearby park, carrying white


A solidarity group called the Ladies in Support (Damas de Apoyo)

subsequently emerged to support and participate in activities organized

by the Ladies in White. In early 2012 the two groups merged and all

members are now considered to be Ladies in White. After the release of

all the prisoners of conscience from the March 2003 crackdown, the

Ladies in White have been campaigning for the release of political

prisoners and for the lifting of restrictions on fundamental civil and

political freedoms in Cuba.

The Ladies in White have repeatedly suffered harassment and intimidation

as they have attempted to carry out their peaceful activities. They are

frequently subject to acts of repudiation by government supporters and

members of the security forces, and also to short-term arbitrary

detentions in order to disrupt their activities.

Name: Members of The Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) and other

opposition activists in Cuba

Gender m/f: both

UA: 276/12 Index: AMR 25/022/2012 Issue Date: 25 September 2012

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