"Working together for a free Cuba"



Urgent petition from Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet prisoner of conscience in Cuba.

A letter released in Havana, Cuba on June 23rd, by Elsa Morejón Hernández, wife of prisoner of conscience, Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, denounces the critical situation this Cuban physician is facing at Prison Kilo 8 in the province of Pinar del Rio, 162 km. away from his home where he is serving a 25 year sentence after being sanctioned ( Case # 15 of the year 2003) for committing crimes “against the sovereignty and the integrity of the Cuban territory.”

On June 17, 2004, Officer Mario Luis, who says he is carrying out “new orders which all prisoners must obey”, prohibited the delivery of any daily rations of foodstuff offered at the penitentiary to Dr. Biscet’s cell. Since that day, Dr. Biscet is eating only what other prisoners might bring him. Dr. Biscet’s family wasn’t informed of this new regulation until June 19, during a 30 prison visit on Father’s Day.

Dr. Biscet stated to his family the following: “Since April of 2003 when I was unjustly sanctioned, I have never gone to the dining halls of either of the two prisons where I have been confined, because I was always punished in isolation cells. On January 16 of this year, the prison director proposed that I leave the isolation cell to share a prison cell with 16 common prisoners. I accepted on the condition that I wasn’t going to participate in any political activity or go to the prison dining halls where there is inadequate hygiene, there are fights amongst prisoners, and violations exist regarding the quality and quantity of the food provided. My presence at the dining hall would force me to peacefully confront prison authorities regarding these violations, since I am both a physician and a human rights activist. The prison director accepted my arguments and allowed an inmate to bring me the food to my cell daily. Since June 17, I haven’t had any food brought to me, practically forcing me to be on a hunger strike. No one has given me an explanation for this, not even the prison director. This new reprisal is directed only against me since there are other prisoners who refuse to eat at the prison dining hall and their food rations are presently brought to them. I am praying to God so that his situation is resolved in the best manner possible. I ask you, my mother and my friends to read Psalm 11. I have the spiritual sustenance and the strength that God provides to all those who love him in justice and truth.”

The family found Dr. Biscet’s high blood pressure under control but found him very thin, having lost around 60 pounds of body weight since his incarceration in Prison Kilo 8. His teeth are totally deteriorated due to the dire prison conditions he has suffered and is suffering, and the lack of medical attention which he refuses to accept because he distrusts the intentions of the military medical personnel at the prison.

Dr. Biscet has had only two prison visits since January of 2004, each visit lasting two hours. He has never been permitted to receive a phone call from his family. The prisoners have no television, they are not permitted to have a radio, a mattress to sleep, a fan, nor do they have access to a shower or enough water to bathe, and cells lack windows.

Dr. Biscet’s family considers him an innocent man, his only crime being “a soldier of non-violence, on behalf of human rights and a pro-life defender”. So that this situation is resolved, they urgently request that all men and women of good will appeal to the Cuban government on behalf of Dr. Biscet’s life and the psychological well-being of all his family. Prison authorities keep silence before the family’s request for permission to take food to Dr. Biscet in prison “so that he does not become ill or die of starvation.”

Elsa Morejon’s testimony was obtained from Cuba via fax in the USA. Translation to English:
Coalition of Cuban-American Women/LAIDA CARRO E-mail: Joseito76@aol.com
Elsa Morejon Hernandez/ Address:
Acosta 464 entre 8va y 9na, Lawton, Municipio 10 de Octubre, La Habana, Cuba.
Tel: + 537 991774
Website:  www.biscet.org

Distributed by:
Lawton Foundation
Source: La Nueva Cuba
July 1, 2004