INTRODUCTION: On the eve of IFLA's annual conference in Norway, where a
resolution calling for the release of Cuba's imprisoned independent librarians will
be proposed, Amnesty International has just issued a worldwide Urgent Action
appeal calling for the release of fifteen new detainees in Cuba. One of the
prisoners, Julio César López, is an independent librarian. All of the Cuban
librarians sentenced to 20+ year prison terms in 2003 have been named as Prisoners
of Conscience by Amnesty, which is also demanding their immediate and
unconditional release. Below is the text of Amnesty's new appeal. Please carry out
actions recommended by Amnesty. - The Friends of Cuban Libraries
   Amnesty International Index: AMR 25/018/2005
                       05 August 2005

UA 206/05       Possible prisoners of conscience/legal concern

CUBA    René Gómez Manzano (m), aged 63
        Oscar Mario González (m), aged 61
        Julio César López Rodríguez (m), aged 38
        Twelve other protestors (all male)

René Gómez Manzano, Oscar Mario González and Julio César López Rodríguez
were detained in the capital Havana after participating in a peaceful
demonstration against the Cuban government on 22 July. They could face up
to 20 years in prison. Three other men arrested at the demonstration
remain in detention, along with six men detained on 13 July during another
peaceful event in Havana. Amnesty International believes that all fifteen
men may be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for exercising their
right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

On 22 July, approximately 30 people were arrested as they tried to
participate in a peaceful demonstration which took place outside the
French Embassy in Havana, demanding the release of political prisoners in
Cuba. They were arrested at home, on their way to the demonstration or on
the sidelines of the gathering. Nine of them remain in detention. State
security police officers have apparently informed the families of René Gó-
mez Manzano, Oscar Mario González and Julio César López Rodríguez that the
three men will be charged under the Ley de Protección de la Independencia
Nacional y la Economía de Cuba, (Law for the Protection of the National
Independence and Economy of Cuba) known simply as Law 88. It is thought
that René Gómez Manzano and Oscar Mario González are currently being held
at the Unidad de la Policía Nacional Revolucionaria del Municipio Playa
(National Revolutionary Police Unit in the Municipality of Playa). Amnesty
International has no information on the whereabouts of Julio César López.

On 13 July around 20 people were detained whilst participating in a
peaceful event in Havana. They were commemorating the "13 de Marzo"
tugboat disaster of 1994, in which some 35 people were killed while
attempting to flee Cuba when their boat was reportedly rammed by the Cuban
authorities (see AMR 25/13/97, July 1997). Six of those detained on 13
July remain in custody, charged with "desordenes públicos" (public
disorders), which carries a maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment.
The majority are thought to be detained in the Departamento Técnico de
Investigaciones (Technical Department of Investigations) in Havana.

Law 88, introduced in February 1999, calls for seven to 15 years
imprisonment for passing information to the United States that could be
used to bolster anti-Cuban measures such as the US economic blockade. This
would rise to 20 years if the information is acquired surreptitiously. The
legislation also bans the ownership, distribution or reproduction of
subversive materials from the US government, and proposes terms of
imprisonment of up to five years for collaborating with radio and TV
stations and publications deemed to be assisting US policy.

In March 2003 Cuban authorities arrested 75 dissidents. They were
subjected to summary trials and were quickly sentenced to long prison
terms of up to 28 years, some of these were under Law 88.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible,
in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern at the detention of René Gómez Manzano, Oscar Mario
González, Julio César López Rodríguez and 12 other men, following their
participation in peaceful events in Havana on 13 July and 22 July;
- stating that Amnesty International believes them to have been detained
solely for peacefully attempting to exercise their rights to freedom of
expression, association and assembly and could therefore be considered
prisoners of conscience;
- calling for the 15 men to be released immediately and unconditionally,
unless they are to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and
tried according to international standards for fair trial;
- urging that they be granted immediate access to lawyers of their
choosing and any necessary medical assistance;
- condemning the authorities' apparent criminalization of the right to
freedom of expression, including the right to participate in peaceful

APPEALS TO: (It may be difficult to get through to these numbers, please
keep trying)
Head of State and Government
Dr Fidel Castro Ruz
Presidente de los Consejos de Estados y de Ministros
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: + 53 7 8333085 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or + 1 2127791697
(c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Email: [log in to unmask]  or [log in to unmask] (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)
Salutation: Su Excelencia/ Your Excellency

Dr Juan Escalona Reguera
Fiscal General de la República,
Fiscalía General de la República
San Rafael 3, La Habana, Cuba
Fax: + 53 7 669 485 / 333 164
Salutation: Señor Fiscal General / Dear Attorney General

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sr Felipe Pérez Roque
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Calzada No. 360
Vedado, La Habana, Cuba
Fax:+ 53 7 8333 085
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister

Interior Secretary
General Abelardo Coloma Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana, Cuba
Fax: + 53 7 8301 566
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister

COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Cuba accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 September 2005.