Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Cuba/Germany: Parliament Representatives stand up for political prisoners
Sponsorship program of the ISHR presented in Berlin

Photo: ISHR sponsorship program presented on Dec. 5, 2007 at a press conference in Berlin: (left to right) Dr. Christian Ehler MEP, Katherina Reiche MP, Günter Nooke - Human Rights Commissioner of the Federal Government of Germany, Martin Lessenthin - ISHR and Dieter Dombrowski MP

Berlin/ Frankfurt am Main (5th of December 2007)
Members of the Bundestag (the German Parliament), of some parliaments of German federal states and of the European Parliament declared themselves today as sponsors for political prisoners in Cuba. The politicians want to plead for the release of arbitrarily detained human rights-activists, trade unionists and other political prisoners in Cuba which had been ruled dictatorial since 49 years. Such a sponsorship program was presented by representatives of different parliaments together with the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) in the representation of the Saarland in the Federation. The ISHR stands up for around 300 political prisoners on the Caribbean island.

On Cuba which is controlled by the Castro brothers since 1959 all parties are prohibited – except the ruling Communist party. Only one daily newspaper can be published: the "Granma", the party organ of the Cuban Communist Party. Independent journalists and independent trade union movements are frightened and are threatened with long-time sentences. According to information of the ISHR there are currently almost 300 political prisoners on Cuba known by name. Their condemnations and conditions of detention are in a glaring contrast to international law. A lot of cases of bad maltreatments and denied medical treatment are known – even cases of death in prison.

The representatives want to raise attention to the destiny of these political prisoners through this sponsorship program. The Prime Minister of Saarland (one of the federal states of Germany) Peter Müller, the chairman of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering, the members of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, Katherina Reiche and Arnold Vaatz, the member of the European Parliament Dr. Christian Ehler and the member of the parliament of the German federal state Brandenburg Dieter Dombrowski have already adopted a political prisoner. They directly stand up for the release of the prisoners and for the protection of future prosecution of human rights and civil rights activists. "It is our task to save these people from being forgotten", said Ms. Reiche, political sponsor of the journalist Victor Rolando Arroyo Carmona.

Initiator of this sponsorship program for political prisoners is the ISHR which is located in Frankfurt. Its Speaker of the Board, Martin Lessenthin, introduced the special destiny of the imprisoned civil rights activists Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Normando Hernandez Gonzales. Both had been condemned to 25 years in prison because of their engagement for the implementation of the human rights in Cuba. Both prisoners will get the "Dr.-Rainer-Hildebrandt-Medal" on the 12th of December 2007 in the Mauermuseum (House on the Checkpoint Charlie) in Berlin.

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