Washington, D.C.; September 8, 2021.- At the request of the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has extended precautionary measures to the activists Richard Adrián Zamora Brito, a member of the Citizens’ Committee for Racial Integration (CIR, in Spanish) and Irán Almaguer Labrada, a member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL). The Commission made this decision after finding that both men face a serious and urgent risk of irreparable harm to their rights to life and personal integrity.
Richard Adrián Zamora Brito
In January and June 2021, the IACHR granted precautionary measures to four members of the Citizens’ Committee for Racial Integration, finding that their lives and personal integrity were at risk due to their efforts to promote human rights. This risk has increased as a result of the repression of protest and activism after the protests of July 11, affecting additional members of CIR including Richard. Race and Equality therefore requested that the precautionary measures be extended to include him, to which the IACHR agreed on August 22 via Resolution 64/2021.
Richard Adrián Zamora Brito, who records and performs as “El Radikal,” is a musician, activist, and the coordinator of CIR’s activities in the province of Matanzas. In this role, he works to protect and promote human rights in his community. As a result of his work as both an activist and artist, he has suffered serious violations of his right to freedom of expression and faced government persecution on multiple occasions.
On July 11, Richard approached a protest taking place in Matanzas with the goal of documenting the events. That evening, he returned home without issues. Early the next morning, however, he was detained at his home by State Security and National Revolutionary Police (PNR) forces. Authorities told his wife that he would be taken to the Colón Municipal Police Station to be “investigated.”
On July 14, Richard’s family approached the Matanzas Criminal Processing Center to obtain information about where and why Richard was being held. The officials there informed them that once 96 hours had passed (the maximum time period allowed under Cuban law), the charges would be stated. This time elapsed on July 15, but no information was provided. His family requested a revision of his status, which was denied, and was also prevented from viewing his case files. The only information they were given was a verbal, unofficial remark that Richard was being charged with “public disorder” and “disturbance.” After being held incommunicado for more than 40 days, Richard was finally released on a 10,000 pesos (approximately US$500) bail on August 20.
Irán Almaguer Labrada
On January 7, 2021, the IACHR granted precautionary measures to Yandier García Labrada, who had been deprived of liberty since November 2020. Yandier and his brother Irán Almaguer Labrada are both members of the Christian Liberation Movement and, as a result of their activism, have faced persecution and harassment at the hands of Cuban authorities, putting their lives and personal integrity at risk.
Irán is MCL’s coordinator for the areas of Manatí, San Andrés, and Alfonso, where he leads activities for the defense and promotion of human rights. Irán suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which requires regular treatment to prevent his losing his eyesight. State Security forces have used this condition against him, threatening him that if he continues his activism, they will arrange to have his healthcare cut off.
In addition to these threats, Irán has suffered intimidation, arbitrary detention, and harassment due to his affiliation with the MCL. This persecution has worsened since Yandier was detained and Irán took up action to demand justice for his brother. Since January of this year, Irán has suffered at least one short-term detention every month. While he is being held, he is prevented from contacting his family, which causes great suffering and distress for his wife and 14-year-old daughter.
Irán was most recently detained on July 21, in the context of the July 11 protests. Around 9:00 am, he was arrested in his home and brought to the El Anillo police station in Holguín, around 20 kilometers from his house. There, he was held incommunicado until being released on July 23. While being detained, he was held alone in a cell and interrogated twice. His interrogators told him that he would be imprisoned if he continued with his activism and warned him not to speak publicly about the economic or social situation in Cuba, telling him that he had been heard doing so in a bakery. They finally informed him that if he continued “inciting people,” he would be prosecuted.
Based on these facts, the IACHR decided to extend precautionary measures to Irán via Resolution 68/2021.
Race and Equality calls on the State of Cuba to implement these precautionary measures by guaranteeing Richard and Irán’s fundamental rights to life, personal integrity, liberty, security, and due process. We also join the IACHR in calling on Cuba to ensure that the two men can carry on their work as activists without suffering intimidation, persecution, or threats.