Washington, D.C.; May 26, 2021.- The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) expresses our serious concern at the situation of Yandier Garcia Labrada, a Cuban activist and member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) who has been held in “El Típico” prison for nearly eight months without any charges being presented against him.
Yandier Garcia Labrada was detained on October 6, 2020, after protesting against problems with the distribution of food in Manatí, Las Tunas. After being detained, he was held incommunicado for approximately a month, during which time he suffered beatings at the hands of security forces which left him with an immobilized arm. He has still not received any medical attention, despite this injury and his severe asthma.
Recognizing the serious risks that Yandier faces in custody, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted him precautionary measures on January 7, 2021. These measures require the State of Cuba to protect his life and personal integrity, particularly by guaranteeing that he is held in conditions compliant with international standards on the rights of people deprived of liberty. The Commission also called on the Cuban government to adopt these measures in consultation with Yandier and his family and to report on the actions taken to comply with the decision.
The government, however, has not adopted any measures to implement the ruling. Yandier’s situation has only worsened, including through the denial of family visits supposedly due to pandemic-related restrictions. His phone calls are also limited: in the last five months, he has only been permitted one phone call with his family in March 2021. Since then, his family has lost all contact with him and are greatly concerned for his well-being, knowing the poor conditions of Cuban prisons and the risks he faces due to his asthma. Yandier also suffers constant abuse and intimidation at the hands of security forces. The criminal case against him remains open, despite the fact that no charges have been presented and he has not been granted a trial.
Race and Equality calls upon the State of Cuba to adopt all necessary measures to comply with IACHR Resolution 5/2021 and preserve Yandier’s fundamental rights to life, liberty, and personal integrity. We also demand that the State respect the right of all Cubans deprived of liberty, including Yandier, to remain in communication with their loved ones and legal representatives.