A Call to Human Rights Watch! Cuban Prisoner of Conscience beaten!
CUBAN DOCTOR AND PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE, DR. JOSE LUIS GARCIA PANEQUE, IS BRUTALLY BEATEN BY A CRIMINAL INMATE
Cuba, August 28, 2007. On Tuesday, August 28, 2007, during the evening count of inmates in the Prison of Las Mangas in Bayamo, Cuba, political prisoner, José Luis García Paneque, was threatened and physically attacked by a common prisoner from another post.
According to Moralinda Paneque Mártinez, mother of the prisoner of conscience, a common criminal threatened her son during the August 28th afternoon count of prisoners. The thug shouted, “Hey you! Get up….!” When the Cuban doctor answered the inmate that he did not take orders from other prisoners, the inmate left and returned that same night during the evening count, confronting Dr. García Paneque again. “…I’ve come back so you can tell me again what you said this afternoon…” Before Dr. García Paneque could finish giving him the same response, the inmate attacked Dr. García Paneque and punched him so hard that the doctor fell to the floor with a wound above the left eyebrow.
Dr. García Paneque had to be taken to the Prisoners’ Ward of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Hospital in Bayamo. It took four stitches to close the wound. Last June, in this same hospital, Dr. García Paneque was admitted and diagnosed with a kidney tumor and pneumonia. His body weight is just over 100 lbs. (48 kilos), and he suffers from Intestinal Mal Absorption Syndrome, a condition that causes chronic bouts of diarrhea and bleeding colitis.
Something unusual occurred on the evening of August 29th, however. An agent from State Security went to visit Moralinda Paneque around dusk to explain to her that her son’s wound was swollen but that he was “OK.”
It has been a common practice of the Cuban prison authorities to confine political prisoners along side violent common criminals as a method of physical and mental torture. Cuban State Security constantly offers privileges to common criminals provided that they provoke, attack, and humiliate, political prisoners in Cuba.
Dr. García Paneque was arrested on March 18, 2007, and sentenced to 24 years in jail during the wave of repression that the Cuban government carried out against members of the civil society who were promoting independent ideas on the island.
Dr. García Paneque’s family makes an urgent call to the international community since they fear for the safety and the physical and psychological health of this Cuban doctor who is unjustly confined in a maximum-security prison for defending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in his own country.