Cuba: Human rights defender Ms Damaris Moya Portieles physically attacked at her home and arrested
On 4 October 2013 human rights defender Ms Damaris Moya Portieles was attacked and arrested by Cuban police while at home with her two young children.
Damaris Moya Portieles is an activist and member of the Movimiento Femenino por los Derechos Civiles Rosa Parks (Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights) and is vice-president of the Coalición Central Opositora (Central Opposition Coalition), which works to protect the well-being of children and the elderly and has protested against unjust evictions carried out by government forces.
On 4 October 2013 Damaris Moya Portieles was attacked at her home by police. She received so many hits to her head that she lost consciousness and was taken away from her home by the agents, to an unknown location.
This is the ninth attack she has experienced since 4 August 2013 when Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as Antúnez) and his wife Yris Perez Aguilera, respectively President’s of the Central Opposition Coalition and the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights, left the country.
Damaris Moya Portieles’ home has been broken into on three occasions and her belongings have been destroyed, her two young children have been physically assaulted and she has been victim of so called actos de repudio (acts of repudiation), when pro-government mobs acting as “Rapid Response Brigades” harass, threaten, insult and attack peaceful human rights defenders.
Previously, on 25 January 2013, Damaris Moya Portieles was sexually violated during her detention when she was forcibly restrained, stripped naked and had a pencil inserted into her genitalia. The authorities claimed they were “searching for a cell phone”. On 2 May 2012, Damaris Moya Portieles was participating in a candlelit vigil in Santa Clara to demand the release of all Cuban political prisoners when she was forcefully arrested and escorted to a police unit with several other activists. While in her cell, State Security Agent Eric Francis Aquino Yera ordered two common prisoners to threaten her. They proceeded to give full details about how they would rape the human rights defender’s 5 year-old daughter.
Front Line Defenders expresses its serious concern at the actions of the Cuban police in harassing Damaris Moya Portieles as it is believed that these attacks are solely motivated by her work defending human rights in Cuba.