Political prisoner threatens hunger strike

José García Paneque

Via e-mail, the Coalition of Cuban-American Women delivers some disturbing news about imprisoned independent journalist Dr. José Luis García Paneque:

Cuban prisoner of conscience, Dr. José Luis García Paneque, who is forced to share a barrack with dangerous common prisoners in Las Mangas Prison will declare himself on a hunger strike if the criminals in his cell continue harassing him in such a cruel and viscious manner. Dr. García Paneque, weighing a little over 100 lbs., has already endured beatings at the hands of such delinquents.
Moralinda Paneque, mother of the imprisoned doctor, learned that new prisoners who are serving sentences for murder and drug addiction have been introduced in her son’s cell and that these convicts intentionally make noise to prevent him from sleeping; they steal his personal possessions and provoke him, seeking a physical confrontation with Dr. García Paneque.
It has been a practice of Cuban prison authorities to confine political prisoners next to violent delinquents as a method of physical and mental torture. Cuban State Security offers special privileges to common prisons provided they provoke, beat up, and humiliate, etc., Cuban political prisoners.
Dr. García Paneque’s health is in a critical state since he’s been confined to numerous prison hospitals suffering from prolonged chronic diarrhea and bouts of rectal bleeding as a result of the malabsorption syndrome he has developed since he was imprisoned in 2003. He’s also been diagnosed with a kidney tumor, pneumonia, and a pleural effusion of the right lung.
Dr. García Paneque’s wife and four children were forced to seek exile in the United States on March 8, 2007, because of the violent acts of repudiation that were being carried out against their home by mobs instigated by Cuban State Security.
Dr. García Paneque was arrested on March 18, 2003, and sentenced to 24 years in jail during the wave of repression that the Cuban government carried out against members of the civil society who were promoting independent ideas on the island.
Dr. García Paneque’s family makes the Cuban government responsible for the life of this 42 year old surgeon and makes an URGENT APPEAL to the international community since they fear for the safety and physical and psychological well-being of this Cuban physician who is unjustly imprisoned in a maximum-security prison for defending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in his own country.
Information obtained via telephone from Mrs. Moralinda Paneque (Las Tunas, Cuba) and from Yamile Llanes, Dr. Paneque’s wife (United States).
Coalition of Cuban-American Women / LAIDA CARRO / E-mail: joseito76@aol.com
FAX: 305-740-7323

For more on Dr. García Paneque, read here.