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Political dissident must be released – Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez – Amnesty International

Cuba: Political must be released: Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez

By Amnesty International, 2 April 2015, Index number: AMR 25/1379/2015

Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez has been detained in Cuba since June 2014. He
was sentenced in December 2014 to one year’s imprisonment for “public
disorder”. Amnesty International considers him a of conscience,
imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to of

UA: 77/15 Index: AMR 25/1379/2015 Cuba Date: 2 April 2015

Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez has been detained in Cuba since June 2014. He
was sentenced in December 2014 to one year’s imprisonment for “public
disorder”. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience,
imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of
On 5 June 2014, Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez, a political dissident and
activist who is a member of various independent organizations in Cuba,
organized and participated in a demonstration in the streets of
Placetas, Santa Clara Province, in central Cuba. He displayed a banner
which stated “Student Revolutionary Directorate”
(Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil, DRE) and shouted slogans against
the government such as “Down with the revolution!” (Abajo la
Revolución); “Down with Fidel, down with Raúl Castro!” (Abajo Fidel,
abajo Raúl).
Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez was and subsequently released on the
same day, however on 12 June 2014, the District Attorney of Villa Clara
placed him under house arrest on accusations of “public disorder.” On 15
June, in order to visit his father on Father’s Day, Ciro Alexis Casanova
Pérez called the local station to request temporary permission to
leave his house. Although the officer in charge gave him verbal
authorization, Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez was arrested by a police
patrol while on his way to his father’s house.
In September 2014, the Attorney General’s office charged him with
“public disorder”, (desorden público) “public disorder of a continuous
nature”, (desordenes publicos de carácter continuado) and “disrespect”
(desacato), and demanded he be given four years’ imprisonment. Ciro
Alexis Peréz Casanova was tried in November 2014 at the Popular
Municipal Court of Placetas which convicted and sentenced him on 30
December to one year’s imprisonment. The Court rejected the accusations
of “disrespect“ and of “public disorder of a continuous nature“, and
only found Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez guilty of “public disorder“. He
has been serving his sentence at El Pendiente until he was moved
to Manaca prison in February 2015. Both are situated in Villa Clara

Amnesty International considers this sentence to be politically
motivated, relating to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of
expression, and that it is intended to send a message of intimidation to
other government critics. Please write immediately in Spanish or your
own language:
-Calling on the authorities to release Ciro Alexis Casanova Pérez
immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience,
imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of
-Calling on them to repeal all legislation which unduly limits freedom
of expression, assembly and association;  Urging them to ensure that,
pending his release, he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; that
he is granted regular access to family and lawyers of his choosing; and
provided with any medical care which he may require.

of the Republic
Raúl Castro Ruz
de la República de Cuba
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba office in
Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban
Mission to UN)
Email: (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)

Salutation: Your Excellency 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

And copies to:
Minister of Interior
General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolución
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban
Mission to UN)

The right to a fair trial in Cuba is affected, especially in trials with
political connotations, as courts and prosecutors are under government
control. Cuba’s National Assembly elects the President, Vice-President
and the other judges of the Peoples’ Supreme Court, as well as the
Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. In addition, all
courts are subordinate to the National Assembly and the Council of
State, raising concerns over internationally recognized standards for
fair trial and the right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.
The Cuban Criminal Code criminalizes a broad range of activities under
the provisions dealing with public order (Title IV). Some Title IV
provisions are worded and interpreted by the courts in ways that allow
the imposition of unnecessary restrictions on freedom of expression. The
Criminal Code gives a very broad interpretation of public order,
allowing the authorities to invoke this provision to arbitrarily
restrict freedom of expression in both public and private spaces.
Article 200 states: “Any person who, without justifiable cause raises
the alarm or makes threats against the general public in public places
or at shows or large meetings, shall be subject to between three months
and a year’s imprisonment or a fine… or both (El que, en lugares
públicos, espectáculos o reuniones numerosas, dé gritos de alarma,
profiera amenazas de un peligro común o realice cualquier otro acto con
el propósito de provocar pánico o tumulto, incurre en sanción de
privación de de tres meses a un año o multa de cien a
trescientas cuotas o ambas).

Public disorder charges are commonly used to punish the exercise of
freedom of expression and criticism of the authorities. Under
international law, governments must justify measures that
limit the right to freedom of expression.

In December 2014 the United States of America and Cuba announced the
decision to “normalize” their diplomatic relations and since then,
representatives of both governments have held a number a bilateral
negotiations in Cuba and the USA. On 31 March 2015 delegations met in
Washington DC, “to discuss the methodology, topics, and structure of a
future human rights dialogue” according to the US Department of State.
It follows the release in January 2015 of more than 50 political
prisoners in Cuba including five men considered by Amnesty International
to be prisoners of conscience.


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