Without Freedom, Without Justice, Without Law / Amir Valle and Elisa
Posted on June 29, 2015
New Violations of Ángel Santiesteban’s Rights
Amir Valle and Elisa Tabakman, 28 June, 2015 — Today, June 28, 2015,
Angel Santiesteban Prats should have been released on parole after
having served exactly half of his unjust sentence. In fact, if they had
not already violated his rights, he should have been free as of April
28, because as provided by law, for each year served in prison one month
is credited against the total sentence.
When they violated his right to the two-month reduction, we denounced it
here, and correctly explained that they did it to avoid granting him
freedom. And we assumed, incorrectly, that they would release him on
June 28; if they did not, it would be a public and obvious violation of
their own laws.
On that occasion, we also reiterated the complaint about another blatant
breach of the law: the silence they have maintained about his appeal for
revision of judgment, filed on July 4, 2013, and approved in the final
months of last year when, under pressure from international agencies,
they had to stop postponing it.
But because the dictatorship does not act if it will not benefit, even
though the appeal was approved, to date they have not undertaken the
review. If the regime had any proof about the guilt of Angel
Santiesteban, would they fear having to review the trial with all of the
guarantees violated the first time?
Ángel was charged and convicted of a common crime for which they never
provided a shred of evidence. They convicted him only on the basis of
graphoanalysis—the height and angle of his handwriting. Ever since he
entered prison he has been treated as a political prisoner.
They have subjected him to physical and psychological torture by
officers of the political police, who constantly tried to intimidate
him; they located violent prisoners next to him to provoke him; and they
placed other inmates to spy on him in exchange for certain benefits.
They have violated all of his prisoner rights (family passes, visits),
they have threatened him . . . In short, he has had to suffer these and
all the other atrocities that, as we well know, he and all political
prisoners are victims of.
Three weeks ago, as we also reported, he was transferred twice to the
barracks at Villa Marista in the span of four days. These “rides” as we
learned later, had no purpose other than intimidating him and making him
listen, ad nauseum, to threats from two Interior Ministry officers.
They told him: “Why should we free you if you’re going to meet some
Sunday with the Ladies in White and then we’ll bring you right back to
prison.” At this point, we believe that they prefer to save themselves a
ride in a patrol car to take him back to prison.
Angel remains the only “common criminal” who, on repeated occasions, the
political police officers have offered freedom in exchange for
renouncing his political position, demanding that he give that
renunciation in videotaped testimony.
He is also the only “common criminal” they have threatened to return to
jail if he attended the marches of the Ladies in White. He is also the
only “common criminal” that a known government official (while pointing
a gun at his head) predicted would be sentenced to five years, one month
before the Tribunal delivered the sentence.
Knowing these circumstances, and believing that all the facts clearly
indicate that Angel is a political prisoner, we have received messages
of concern and astonishment from hundreds of readers of this blog, who
ask us one question:
If Ángel is one of the most internationally recognized Cuban prisoners,
is one of the “100 Heroes of Communication” of the Reporters Without
Borders, and is supported by intellectual institutions around the world,
including parliamentarians from the European Union, why is it that the
relevant organizations of the Cuban opposition, charged with making such
allegations internationally, have never included him in their lists of
Many of these messages have been referred directly to the monthly
reports on political prisoners sent from the island by the Cuban
Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, headed by
Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz-Pacheco.
Their concern is logical: although the circumstances of Ángel’s
imprisonment are well known internationally, with across-the-board
recognition that he was convicted for his political position, he is not
included in those lists because the opposition’s lists rely on the
version of Raul Castro’s dictatorship (which pretends to consider Ángel
a common prisoner).
But at the same time this prevents Ángel from benefiting from any
amnesty, as promoted in the talks between Cuba and the United States
since December 17, 2014, and as already rumored may be possible before
the visit of Pope Francis.
As we cannot give an answer, we hereby officially put that question to
Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz-Pacheco and the Cuban Commission for Human
Rights and National Reconciliation.
Literary representative of Ángel Santiesteban
Editor of Ángel’s blog, The Children Nobody Wanted
Source: Without Freedom, Without Justice, Without Law / Amir Valle and
Elisa Tabakman | Translating Cuba –