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Petition Tag - dictatorship

1. Free Iranian-British Student Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, Sentenced To 20 YEARS For Criticizing Regime On Facebook

URGENT UPDATE: May 27, 2014--ROYA SABERI NEGAD NOBAKHT HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO TWENTY YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT!
The Tehran Revolutionary Court, in another illegal action, sentenced 8 men and women, active on Facebook to more than 123 years of imprisonment.

Since the authorities have been unable to have any influence on society in trying to ban Facebook, with this action, they seem to be trying to create panic among social network users, and are using this to create and influence an atmosphere of oppression in cyber-space.

According to the opposition site Kaleme, these people who were arrested last year and were interrogated at the IRGC Ward 2-A in Evin prison, were tried and sentenced collectively to more than 123 years of imprisonment in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Moghayeseh,.

The sentences issued by lower court are as follows:

1- Roya Saberinejad Nobakht; 20 years of imprisonment

2- Masoud Ghasem Khani; 19 years and 91 days of imprisonment

3- Fariborz Kardarfar; 18 years and 91 days of imprisonment

4- Sayd Masoud Sayed Talebi; 15 years and one day of imprisonment

5- Amin (Farid) Akramipour; 13 years of imprisonment

6- Naghmeh Shahi Savandi Shirazi; 7 years and 91 days of imprisonment

These 8 people were charged with assembly and collusion against the national security, insulting the Supreme Leader, insulting the authorities, propaganda against the regime, blasphemy, and spreading lies and disturbing the public’s peace.

The Revolutionary Court, based on Article 134 of the new Islamic Republic’s Penal Code has issued these sentences, giving them more than half of the maximum penalty. But, according to this same Article, only the sentence for the charge with the highest maximum penalty is enforceable. In this case, that would be the charge of assembly and collusion against the national security, which carries 7 1/2 years of imprisonment.

While the issue of free access to the Internet has become one of the main challenges between the hardliner Judiciary and the administration of Hassan Rouhani and considering the inability of the hardliners to influence the cyber space activities of the people, they have resorted to giving these heavy sentences to make an example and to create an atmosphere of fear in order to stop the people from online activities.

Kaleme had previously reported regarding the IRGC’s scenario and arresting of cyber activists in the summer and fall of 2013. Those people were arrested in Tehran, Shiraz and Sari. They were all held at IRGC’s Ward 2-A in Evin prison where they were interrogated and tortured. Currently they are being held in Evin prison and Gharchak prison for women in Varamin.

Despite the fact that the IRGC interrogators have charged these 8 people with various false charges, that the Court used to convict them, Kaleme’s reporter investigations showed that activities of these 8 people were limited to criticism of the ruling establishment’s policies, poems and songs of protest, spreading the news of the events of post-2009 presidential election and political-social satires.

These activists, under pressure by the interrogators and with false promises of leniency, gave false confessions on national TV, apologizing for their actions, voicing regret for their Facebook activities, and warned about the ill effects of these social networking sites.
Source (in Farsi): Kaleme http://www.kaleme.com/1393/03/05/klm-185771/

Translation by Persian Banoo: http://persianbanoo.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/unprecedented-123-years-of-imprisonment-for-8-people-active-on-facebook-in-iran/


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PREVIOUS REPORTING:
A student visiting family in Iran has been locked up for five months after writing on Facebook that the country 'was too Islamic' during a family trip.

Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, from Stockport, was arrested as she stepped off a plane in the provincial city of Shiraz and accused of being a spy, said her husband Daryoush Taghipoor.

Daryoush said his 47-year-old wife has been detained at Evin, a prison in the capital Tehran, on suspicion of plotting to commit crimes against security and insulting Islam.

He claims her arrest was over comments she made on an internet chat forum and to friends on Facebook about the Iranian government being too controlling and ‘too Islamic’.

Part-time chef Daryoush and Roya, an English student at Stockport College, have lived in Heald Green for six years and are naturalized British citizens.

Daryoush, 47, said his wife had done nothing wrong and feared for her life.

Speaking from Iran, he added: 'It’s a very bad situation. We don’t know what’s going on.

'Roya is not well at all. She has lost three stone and is frightened. She is scared that the government will kill her.'

Roya travelled to Tehran to see family last October.

About two weeks into the trip, she flew to Shiraz to visit a friend and was arrested at the airport.

It is understood she is being remanded in Evin prison while she awaits a trial.

Family friend Nasser Homayoun-Fekri, from Offerton, has written to his MP Andrew Stunell, asking him to put pressure on our government to intervene.

Mr Fekri said: 'Roya is not a political activist in any way. She is just a normal citizen.

'The authorities don’t clarify why she has been arrested and Daryoush insists the charges are based on a confession extracted from Roya under duress.

'The government needs to do all that is feasible to get the release of this innocent British citizen.'

The British Embassy in Tehran is closed but Ajay Sharma, head of the Iran department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is acting as a diplomat between the two countries.

Mr Stunell, Hazel Grove MP, said: 'I am concerned about this arbitrary arrest and am urgently asking the FCO to make inquiries.'

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2. Free Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, Iranian Teacher And Labor Activist

Iranian teacher and labor activist Mehdi Farahi Shandiz was arrested in the first week of Januar, 2012 to serve a three-year jail term.

Mr. Shandiz had been previously detained on May 1, 2010 and had spent more than eight months in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison before being released on January 26, 2011.

Intelligence Ministry agents have arrested the 51-year-old teacher and labour activist Shandiz numerous times before.

While the ostensible basis for the conviction and prison sentence of Mr. Shandiz remain unclear, the fact that is that he is doubly vulnerable to persecution at the hands of the Islamic Republic regime's war against Iran's civil society by simple virtue of being both a teacher and a labor activist.

As for as labor activists are concerned, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has called for urgent action regarding the arrests of and acts of harassment against several Iranian trade unionists, including Shandiz, Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarrahi, Nima Pouryaghoub, Sassan Vahebivash, Sheys Amani, Sadiq Karimi, Sharif Sa’ed-Panah, Mozaffar Salehnia, Maysam Nejati-Aref, Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi, Mohammad Hosseini and Mehdi Farahi Shandiz.

As far as the plight of teachers, Zamaneh has recently reported:

Iran’s “Campaign to Support Jailed Teachers” has issued an announcement in protest against the “worrying situation” of teachers in Iran’s prisons.

Zamaneh reports that the Campaign made its announcement at the start of the academic year and in the run-up to World Teachers’ Day, aiming to be the voice of incarcerated teachers in Iran and rallying the public to demonstrate against how teachers are treated in the country.

The announcement calls on the Islamic Republic to heed the demands of teachers and urges all civil activists to become in every way possible the voice of “jailed teachers” between September 20 and October 5, World Teachers’ Day.

While pointing out the arrest of many teachers and the execution of Farzad Kamangar in 2010, the Campaign adds that many teachers are also being subjected to expulsion and exile, and being denied the right to participate in union activities.

In addition to the stated political persecution, the statement also indicates that many teachers in the provinces will be facing cuts to their salaries in the coming year, while nowhere in the country will educators be granted a raise.

Following the 2009 presidential elections, the government began a widespread crackdown on civil and political activists all across the country. Teachers have been one of the chief targets of government pressure including arrests, interrogations and prison sentences.

Names of some of the jailed Iranian teachers are: Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, Rasoul Badaghi, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mohammad Davari, Abdollah Momeni, Ali Poursoleiman, Hashem Shabaninejad, and Hadi Rashedi.

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3. Bring Down the Assad Regime and Stop the Killing in Syria!

Syria is a home for so many religions and ethnic groups. It is the heart of multiculturalism with over 20 000 000 residents from Syria and all around the world. For the last 40 years, Syrians have been suffering under the Assad Regime.

We have witnessed the Hama Masacre in 1982, the nonrecognition of the Kurdish Syrian community and since February of 2011, president Bashar Al-Assad has sent out his military to murder thousands of children, young adults and peaceful protestors to silence their cry for human rights!

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4. Free Iranian Labor Activist Bahman Ebrahimzadeh

Bahman Ebrahimzadeh, labor activist, stood trial for the second time after spending more than a year in prison. During the second trial, Judge Moqayaseh presided over the Revolutionary Court, Branch 28.

According to a report by the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Bahman Ebrahimzadeh was initially tried by the Revolutionary Court, Branch 15, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Following his request for appeal and the Supreme Court’s approval, he was tried again. It has been reported that Bahman Ebrahimzadeh’s attorney is optimistic about the second trial and hopeful that his client will receive a lighter sentence.

Bahman Ebrahimzadeh is also an advocate against child labor and has supported the Society to Defend Child Laborers and Street Children. He was arrested in June 2010 and was locked up in one of the solitary confinements in Evin Prison’s ward 2A. Bahman Ebrahimzadeh has been denied furlough since then.

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5. Free Iranian Journalist Saam Mahmoodi Sarabi, Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

UPDATE OCTOBER 8, 2012-- IRANIAN JOURNALIST SAAM MAHMOODI SARABI HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS IN PRISON, PLUS A 10-YEAR BAN ON JOURNALISM!

Saam Mahmoudi Sarabi, an Iranian journalist, has been sentenced to eight years in jail and a 10-year ban from media activities in Iran.

Nedaye Sabz Azadi’s website reports that the sentenced journalist’s lawyer has reported that his client was charged with “assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the regime, publishing falsehood and insulting the leader.”

Mahmoudi Sarabi’s sentence has been approved by the appellate court and forwarded to Evin Prison.

Mahmoudi Sarabi was arrested in March of 2011 and released after more than eight months in jail.

The authorities previously had held him in jail for 44 days for writing a poem about the alleged confessions of political prisoners following the 2009 elections protests and for writing an open letter to MirHosein Mousavi, one of the leaders of the opposition.

After the controversial election of 2009, the crackdown on Iranian journalists and reporters has been ratcheted up by the Islamic Republic, and opposition groups report that in the past two years 108 reporters have been arrested, and while some have been released, many still remain behind bars.

EARLIER BACKGROUND:
Iranian journalist Saam Mahmoodi Sarabi continues to be held in legal limbo at Evin Prison, even as his arrest warrant is renewed after two months.

“While they had told us that they would process his file this month, he remains in an undetermined state in Ward 350 of Evin Prison,” his family told the Jaras website. “The security forces also prevent his lawyers from visiting him or even contacting the investigator in his case.”

According to his mother, Alieh Jangi, Mahmoodi was arrested for writing poetry and an open letter to opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi, which the investigator has deemed to be “propaganda against the regime, activity against national security and insulting the leadership.”

Mahmoodi, a staff member of Shargh newspaper, was arrested last March.

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6. Free Iranian Blogger Sakhi Rigi, Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

Sakhi Rigi, a blogger and a member of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s Campaign Staff, has been sentenced to twenty years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Zahedan [Sistan and Baluchistan Province].

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Sakhi Rigi has been exiled to the city of Ahvaz [in Khuzestan Province] to serve his sentence in Karon Prison. Sakhi Rigi is a civil rights activist who was arrested during presidential elections in 2009. On June 18, 2009, while he was driving his car, Sakhi Rigi was stopped on Zahedan University St. by the security forces and subsequently detained.

While he was in the custody of Iran’s Intelligence Agency in Zahedan, Sakhi Rigi endured seven months in solitary confinement and was charged with acting against national security and propaganda against the regime. Three months ago, Sakhi Rigi was transferred to Karon Prison to begin serving his twenty year term.

Sakhi Rigi is a 31 year old college student who was studying software development before being arrested and had only two terms left before graduating. It is not clear what other charges have been filed against him to justify issuing such a heavy sentence for this college student. However, it has been said that his blog postings were considered a crime and a threat to national security.

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7. An Open letter to Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana -- Una Carta al Cardenal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Arzobispo de la Habana

In the past few months, the Catholic Church in Cuba has been engaged in a sham "dialogue" with the repressive Castro regime, which resulted in the banishment of scores of prisoners of conscience to Spain.

Denounced by over one hundred dissidents for these actions, Cardinal Jaime Ortega has responded by condemning those who criticize him and by continuing his defense of the brutal status quo in the name of "pastoral care" and "social harmony."

This petition urges Cardinal Ortega to side with the dissidents and to call for real change in Cuba.

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8. 25 July, International Day Against Dictatorship

Following the electoral fraud of 12 June 2009 in Iran and the repressive measures imposed by the outgoing government of Mahmoud AHMADINEJAD, a worldwide day of protest, IRAN GLOBAL DAY, was organized on the 25 July 2009 in solidarity with the Iranian people in the name of freedom and democracy in Iran and against dictatorship.

The participation of thousands of people around the world was not only a triumph for the Iranian people who thus received the backing of the international community in its struggle against dictatorship, but also a victory for men and women of all origins around the world who, thanks to the Internet and new information technologies, managed to mobilize in the defense of the rights of a repressed people in its struggle against a totalitarian regime that had become a danger to the whole of humanity.

In a global world in which the fate of all individuals, peoples and nations is increasingly interconnected, the defence of human rights of a people living under conditions of tyranny is an issue that concerns us all. United we can act more effectively in the struggle against dictatorship and dictators for peace in the world.

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9. Remove the corrupt PPP regime

Since 2002, Guyana under the PPP dictatorship has been reduced to a narco economy and on the verge of becoming a failed state. The PPP/C regime has plunged Guyana into the abyss with the imposition of VAT, ruthless phantom death squads, pervasive poverty and public lawlessness.

Several ministers have been linked to well known drug lords, public corruption abounds and maybe engendered by the burning down of at least 5 ministry buildings.

Many Afro-Guyanese men have been wrongfully arrested and tortured and in the case of David Leander (Biscuit) poisoned in jailed.

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10. Support Iranian Movement

On Friday 12th of June Iranian people voted in the presidential elections, many with much dissatisfaction about how they were ruled for the last four years, and with high hopes for a change. Yet Iranians woke up the following day to a result which many believe to have been rigged, becoming what many are now calling a coup d’état by the Ahmadinejad’s government, against the vote of the people.


در تاریخ 22 خرداد بسیاری از مردم ایران در پی نارضایتی 4 ساله و امید برای تغییر در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری شرکت کردند، ولی صبح روز بعد از انتخابات ایرانیان با نتایجی مواجه شدند که بسیاری بر این باورند که در آن تقلب شده، و از آن تحت عنوان کودتای دولت احمدی نژاد علیه رای مردم یاد میکنند.


There have been many issues surrounding the elections which have led to these allegations of fraud, including heavy censorship, arrests and repression of the reformists and their supporters, beatings and shootings at demonstrations by government forces which have led to high numbers of causalities and a growing number of deaths.


اتفاقات بسیاری در حول وحوش مساله ی انتخابات افتاده که منجر به ادعای جعلی بودن نتایج آن شده است از جمله سانسور شدید، دستگیری و سرکوب رفرمیست ها و هوادارانشان، ضرب و شتم و گشودن آتش به روی مردم توسط نیروهای دولتی که باعث بالا رفتن تعداد کشته شدگان شده است.


The escalation of censorship of newspapers, websites, TV and radio services around the elections have contributed to the reporting of the events surrounding this event extremely difficult. Many international human rights organizations including Amnesty international, Article 19, Reporters Sans Frontier, and others have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Iranian elections and the events that have followed it since.


اعمال سانسور بر روزنامه ها، وبسایت ها، تلویزیون و رادیو هایی که به پوشش اخبار مربوط به انتخابات ایران میپرداختند به شدت افزایش یافته است. بسیاری از سازمان های بین المللی حقوق بشر از جمله سازمان عفو بین الملل، بند19، گزارشگران خط مقدم و... نارضایتی خود را در باب مساله ی انتخابات و اتفاقات پس از آن ابراز کردند

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11. Americans for Democracy & Transparency in Nicaragua

Since Daniel Ortega’s election in 2006, Nicaragua has strengthened its relationship with Iran, dismantled democratic institutions and imposed party controlled neighborhood committees that will lead to clientelism.

Ortega formed an pact with Arnoldo Aleman, the ex President of Nicaragua and leader of the Liberal Party who serves a criminal sentence under house arrest for corrupt practices. These two strongmen control the legislative branch, the electoral authority, the judicial branch and the national police. Through their control of these institutions, Ortega has postponed elections in the Atlantic coast (afro-decedent and indigenous communities) and canceled the legal standing of two opposition parties (Sandinista Renovation Movement and the Conservative Party).

Ortega intends to change the constitution to solidify his power for longer than currently allowed. With approval rates below 20%, Ortega will have to do so through undemocratic methods.

The U.S. has pledged 175 million dollars for five years since 2005 through the Millennium Challenge Corporation with the condition that Nicaragua fight corruption and strengthen its democracy: Areas that the current Nicaraguan administration is running to the ground.

In the final analysis, a pertinent question should be made: what is the US$175 million offered by the U.S. for five years compared to US$520 million that Hugo Chavez has given to Daniel Ortega and US$250 million that Iran has pledged to Nicaragua. As they say on the street: money talks and “blip blip” walks.

However, far from sending blank checks to Nicaragua, as concerned Americans we should try to be engaged in the process. I propose that you join me in writing to our congresspersons.

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You can look up your congresspersons' info here:
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ (enter zip code in left side search box)
This site gives you all your elected reps, state and federal.

I recommend that you write handwritten letters, not emails, because they have far greater impact. Write to the DISTRICT office, not to Washington, so it arrives in time (DC mail is held a month for security). Write to House of Representatives AND Senators.

For background information on Nicaragua, please find the most recent article in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/world/la/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11497005,

the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/world/americas/04nicaragua.html?_r=1&scp=18&sq=nicaragua&st=cse&oref=slogin,

and The Nicaraguan Report: www.nicaraguanreport.com

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12. Freedom for Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez)

Update: March 2008


Posted on Tue, Feb. 19, 2008
A Hobson's choice: Exile or prison

Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as Antúnez, served out his 17-year term, which ended last year (2007). A former sugar-cane cutter, he was sent to prison for standing in a public square and calling for democratic change. Beyond being harassed and beaten, he has been detained eight times since he was freed in April. Although he has arrangements to come to the United States for medical treatment, he insists he will not leave Cuba unless his return is guaranteed by the regime.

The number of political prisoners declines as Cuba tries to improve its image. Yet the repression, like the dictatorship, has not changed.

The international community must continue to press for democratic change in Cuba.

© 2008 Miami Herald Media Company.

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/v-print/story/424061.html

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Prisoner of Conscience Profile:

Confined to punishment cells. Due to the frequent beatings that he has suffered he has bone fractures, and is suffering from kidney failure caused by hypoglycemia.

Biography: Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez) was born on October 10, 1964. The economic situation of his home and the delicate health of his mother forced him to study at the ESBEC (Basic Secondary Schools in the Fields) and the IPUEC (Pre-university School in the Fields). This is where he first began to question the legitimacy of the dictatorship in Cuba. The process of auto-liberation began when he had the opportunity to read about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

From that moment on he began a process of rejecting all the indoctrination that was taught in the school, and for that reason he was criticized and sanctioned by the school. Because of this, and the desperate need to earn money to alleviate the economic misery his family lived in. Jorge Luis understood that his dream of becoming an attorney was just that a dream. To support his family he worked in jobs that involved heavy manual labor: as a sugar cane cutter, a construction worker and a farm laborer. He was fired from these jobs, simply because he was verbally critical of the dictatorship running his country.

At this point Jorge Luis began to be monitored closely by the Cuban government. After six months working at the Cuban Atomic Plant in Juraguá, Cienfuegos he was fired after being investigated by the Ministry of Labor, which classified him as "disaffected to the revolutionary process" in other words disaffected with the dictatorship.

During the last days of 1983, while chatting with friends at the XX Anniversary Square in the city of Placetas in Cuba Antúnez said that the sole individual responsible for the death of 23 Cubans in combat with the US Army in Grenada was Fidel Castro.

He was immediately beaten down by agents of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR). He was taken from there to the Department of Instruction of the State Security Police in Santa Clara, where he was released after being issued a "warning. " But the intimidation and repression didn't stop Jorge Luis' will to speak his mind as a free man. On March 15, 1990, nearly seven years later at the same XX Anniversary Square listening to an official radio transmission calling for the IV Congress of the Communist Party, he began to raise his voice and shout that "communism is a utopian error " and "we want and we need reforms like those taking place in Eastern Europe". He was immediately physically assaulted by agents of the PNR and State Security Police, who took him again to the headquarters in Santa Clara, where he was charged for "oral enemy propaganda". He was charged with the "crime" of speaking his mind openly and without fear.

That is how Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez) began his long and courageous fight for freedom as a prisoner of conscience. In June of the same year, already imprisoned in the Provincial Prison of Santa Clara, he was sentenced to 6 years in prison. His response to this unjust sentence was to start a hunger strike that lasted 21 days.

This was the first of many occasions that Jorge Luis appealed to this method of protest against the innumerable brutal beatings, being locked away in punishment cells without access to water or sunlight, and the offenses directed against him for being of African descent. Despite all this the dictatorship has failed to break the spirit of this young prisoner of conscience. On February 19, 1991 Antúnez declared himself a "Preso Plantado", which is a political prisoner who refuses to wear the same uniform as non-political prisoners and rejected "Communist Re-education."

Among Antunez's numerous acts of rebellion and protest one stands out above the others. It was his daring escape from Las Grimas prison, in Placetas, on October 17, 1992. Captured later in the larger prison that is Cuba, and returned to prison. In 1995, held in Kilo 8 Maximum Security Prison, known by the nickname of "Se me perdió la llaves" (I have lost my keys), he founded along with other prisoners of conscience, an organization called Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prisoner's Movement, dedicated to denouncing the situation of political prisoners inside the dictatorship's prisons and to promote civil disobedience in response to the brutality of their jailers.

The life of Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), has been one of a commitment to freedom and the courage to exercise it and defend it. A young man (actually only 32 years old), of African descent and from modest economic origins has faced hatred both racially and politically motivated directed at him with the full force of a totalitarian dictatorship. His sole defenses have been his humanity, his courage, his commitment to defending his fundamental human rights and liberties. Ironically under the tyranny operating Cuba his defense and exercise of his personal freedom has under the perversion of the law there and the denial of justice been held against him by the dictatorship as his only crime.

At the time of this writing Antúnez's health has been steadily deteriorating due to beatings, hunger strikes, and lack of medical attention that he has suffered over the years of his imprisonment since 1991. In addition to the bone fractures he is having difficulty breathing and has a lung tumor which the prison authorities claim is not malignant, but refuse to allow him to see a cancer specialist as his health deteriorates. To protest this medical neglect Antúnez has been on a hunger strike since the beginning of April below is a translation of the story that appeared in the newspaper on April 25 about his deteriorating condition. Please speak up for him and demand his freedom and at the very least adequate medical care while held in the dictatorship's prison.

Provisional Prison Nieves Morejón,
Located in: Sancti Spiritus.
Case # 4 of 1990
Charge: Oral Enemy Propaganda
Case #5 of 1993
Charge: "Enemy Propaganda and Tentative Sabotage"
Concurring Sanctions: 15 years in prison
Age: 37
Home Mailing Address: Séptima del Sur # 3 entre Paseo de Martí y Primera del Este.
Placetas,Villa Clara CUBA
Telphone: (42) 8-3228
Relative: Berta Antúnez (sister)
Profession: Qualified Worker

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