Represión – Cuba – Repression

Death of Cuban prisoner of conscience on hunger strike must herald change

Death of Cuban of conscience on hunger strike must herald change
24 February 2010

Amnesty International has urged Cuban President Raúl Castro to
immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience
after a political activist died following a hunger strike.

Orlando Tamayo was reported to have been on hunger strike in
protest at prison conditions for several weeks before his death in
Havana on Monday.

"The tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo is a terrible illustration of
the despair facing prisoners of conscience who see no hope of being
freed from their unfair and prolonged incarceration," said Gerardo
Ducos, Amnesty International's Caribbean researcher. "A full
investigation must be carried out to establish whether ill-treatment may
have played a part in his death."

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was in March 2003 and in May 2004 he was
sentenced to three years in prison for "disrespect", "public disorder"
and "resistance".

He was subsequently tried several times on further charges of
"disobedience" and "disorder in a penal establishment", the last time in
May 2009, and was serving a total sentence of 36 years at the time of
his death.

"Faced with a prolonged prison sentence, the fact that Orlando Zapata
Tamayo felt he had no other avenue available to him but to starve
himself in protest is a terrible indictment of the continuing repression
of political dissidents in Cuba," said Gerardo Ducos

"The death of Orlando Zapata also underlines the urgent need for Cuba to
invite international human rights experts to visit the country to verify
respect for human rights, in particular obligations in the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was one of 55 prisoners of conscience who have
been adopted by Amnesty International in Cuba.

The majority were among the 75 people arrested as part of the massive
March 2003 crackdown by authorities against political activists. With no
independent judiciary in Cuba, trials are often summary and fall grossly
short of international fair trial standards. Once sentenced the chances
of appeal are virtually nil.

Death of Cuban prisoner of conscience on hunger strike must herald
change | Amnesty International (25 February 2010)

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