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Appello a Raul Castro
Fighting for democracy. Libertà per Luis Garcia Paneque
di critica sociale

Copy and send
Raul Castro - Presidente Interino de Cuba - c/o Cuban Interests Section - 2639 16th St NW - Washington, DC 20009

Your Excellency,
I am writing to express my deep concern about the continued detention of Dr. José Luis García Paneque, an independent journalist and physician imprisoned in March 2003, whose health has seriously deteriorated since he was arrested and who may now require abdominal surgery.  Dr. García Paneque has been held in “Las Mangas” prison in Bayamo since November 2005.Dr. García Paneque has suffered from intestinal problems that have caused him to lose almost half of his body weight.  He is malnourished and has developed intolerances for lactose and gluten that are not being catered for by the prison diet, in addition to suffering from chronic diarrhea and rectal bleeding.  His wife's request for his release on medical parole in November 2005 has not been answered, and his health has since further declined.  On June 9, 2007, Dr. García Paneque informed his family that he had been taken to a hospital in Bayamo by prison doctors after experiencing severe abdominal pain.  An ultrasound revealed a cyst on one of his kidneys and prison doctors insist on operating to remove it.Dr. José Luis García Paneque is a peaceful human rights activist and independent journalist who oversaw an independent library and medical association, activities which are protected by international law.  His detention and excessive sentence is a violation of his fundamental human rights.  Dr. José Luis García Paneque is one of 59 activists still held in Cuban prisons since March 2003, and one of many non-violent prisoners held despite severe illnesses that are caused or exacerbated by harsh prison conditions. The 1998 U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders provides that governments should protect the rights of all individuals to freely share information about human rights and advance fundamental freedoms.  Dr. García Paneque has been imprisoned for exercising these basic rights. I urge the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Paneque, as well as all others held for their nonviolent promotion of human rights and democracy and the peaceful expression of their beliefs.While Dr. Garcia Paneque and others remain in detention, I ask the Cuban government to guarantee that the conditions of their detention conform to basic international standards as defined under the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.  These documents elaborate the basic standards needed to protect the rights of detainees, including the provision that sick prisoners receive adequate medical treatment.  A second opinion from a medical professional is provided for under these guidelines.  Finally, these standards detail the rights of prisoners to regular correspondence and family visits.Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Critica Sociale, oldest Italian socialism review Signature …………………………………………………………….