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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
More on the case of Michel Martinez, on hunger strike for more than 30 days
November 21, 2012Posted by on
In this letter, the mother of Michel Martinez Perez, a Cuban citizen who is unjustly imprisoned and who has been on hunger strike for more than 30 days in a prison of Matanzas, recounts all the details of her son’s case (courtesy of former political prisoner of conscience Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, who has been denouncing this situation for months).
It is the clamor of a desperate mother, of a Cuban who demands justice:
To Whom It May Concern
With this letter, I want to denounce the following situation:
On August 5th 2011, 3 citizens- among them William Martinez Perez- were detained in the town of Union de Reyes. On the 10th of the same month, 3 other people were detained, among them Michel Martinez Perez. The detainees were driven throughout the town in police vehicles, with sirens blasting, as if they were terrorists. The police created a sense of fear amongst the locals. At the same time, workers of a local clinic brought stretchers thinking that there had been some sort of massive accident, considering the constant ringing of the sirens. The young detainees were taken to the Technical Investigation Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Matanzas, under accusations of theft and ‘sacrifice’ of a cow.
In the mentioned detention center, the detainees suffered psychological and physical mistreatment at the hands of the instructor, Alain. Michel, in addition to being beat, was tortured, as he was placed in an air conditioned room after having been soaked with cold water, only wearing an undershirt. At that moment, Michel Martinez Perez declared himself on hunger strike- a protest which lasted 12 days and which caused physical and mental complications. In fact, he was taken to the provincial hospital, presenting a grave state of dehydration and weight loss. On August 23rd of 2012, he was taken to the Combinado del Sur Prison of Matanzas. Four months later, in that same place during visit hours the instructor Maria Suarez La Guardia (also from the town of Union de Reyes) accused Michel and William of armed robbery. She then commenced to interrogate Michel, forcing him to give finger prints as well as smell and hair proofs. When Michel noticed, he declared himself on hunger strike, this time for 20 days, for not agreeing with the accusation. If he was already jailed, how is it possible that he could be in two places at once, and how can there be fingerprints in the place of the ‘crime’, after being in prison for 6 months?
On February 21st 2012, at 10 AM, in the provincial tribunal of Matanzas, a trial was carried out corresponding to cause 487/2011, where two different causes were analyzed at the same time- theft and sacrifice of a cow and armed robbery, and there were was no proof against William and Michel. They unjustly remain in prison. After the trial, Michel entered another hunger strike, which harmed is health as he vomited lots of blood and lost lots of weight. The prison authorities spoke to him, trying to convince him to eat, assuring him that his situation would be solved. Seeing as he had been lied to and tricked on various occasions, and that they had not solved his problem, he declared himself on hunger strike again on June 19th 2012. During this strike, he fainted, vomited blood again and lost lots of weight again. Upon seeing his state of health deteriorating, they threatened him to stop and took him to the prison of Canaleta in Matanzas. Afterward, he was taken to the municipal hospital of Colon, in critical state, and 10 days later was when they told his family of his situation. He was kept there for more than a month, where his health deteriorated sharply. He lost 35 pounds. While he was in the hospital, he spent days without showering, seeing as they did not heat up the water for him. He also didn’t even have a fan to cool off the heat, which caused him to sweat a lot and suffer from dehydration. On Saturday, July 28th, after 49 days, he was visited by Mederos (Chief of Prisons in Matanzas) and other functionaries. They all insisted that Michel stop his hunger strike because they were going to solve his situation. That same day, he started to eat in the hospital of Colon, where he remained until August 1st 2012.
In afternoon hours of August 1st 2012, he was taken to the Technical Investigations Department of Versalles in the province of Matanzas, where he was interviewed by an instructor named Orli, but in a very isolated cell, lacking even the most basic of conditions for a human being. Without access to a bathroom, Michel had to carry out his necessities in a plastic bottle. The bottle remained, filled with urine, next to Michel the entire time, with that bad odor. He also had to defecate there and, eventually, in order to shower he had to call a guard which would take him to the bathroom, and they would purposely take long. The mattress to sleep was given to him at 10 PM and taken away around 4 or 5 AM, interrupting his rest. I do not know why people being instructed by this revolution, if one can even call it that, violate the concept of revolution, which says that we should all be treated as humans. They have been so inhumane that they have not even taken his poor health into consideration after 49 days of hunger strike.
Lacking a response to his situation, on August 18th 2012 Michel was taken to the Combinado del Sur penitentiary where he was told they were going to interview him and assist him, but there was no response to his situation as of October 18th 2012.
On April 2012, an annulment process was carried out and on October 17th 2012 the results came in, which dictated that the 10 year sentence was to be upheld.
As for the scent tests, they did not provide any proof for the tribunal or the fiscal process which would incriminate Michel in the events. Then other proofs were analyzed, none of which reflect his culpability.
As of October 19th 2012, Michel started another hunger strike, and as a reprisal he was taken to the Aguica prison on October 23rd 2012, which is located in the Central Road of Colon, in Los Arabos, on Kilometer 9 ½, in Matanzas province.
On Tuesday, October 30th 2012, I went to visit him there at Aguica and 5 people received me, among them the chief of the unit, Captain Pepe and three women. They questioned me and accused Michel, as if they were fiscals or instructors. They told me he was guilty and I responded that there are many innocent people in prison, including my son.
Afterward, Captain Pepe took me to a room to meet with my son. When I saw him, I was shocked by his physical health. When I started talking to him, it was so painful for me. I had to fight hard so that he would not see me cry. He told me he was in a punishment cell, where there is nothing but a tiny cement bed. In order to rest (if you can call it that) he had to lay down on his side because he couldn’t stretch himself out, and he had no blankets, no sweaters, no sheets or anything like that to cover himself on cold nights. He is only covered by a sleeveless shirt and a pair of shorts. They also took away his tooth brush, and I noticed the bad breath. An animal is better taken care of than him. Considering his physical and psychological conditions, he should be in a clinic with special care. After the visit, which didn’t last more than an hour, Pepe accompanied me out of the prison. He wouldn’t stop offending and accusing Michel. I told him that he was not a fiscal to being judging and I asked him if they had given him sheets, sweaters, or any covers to keep him warm and he firmly said yes. And it is there where one can see the lies and the cynicism, where one can see that they don’t even respect their own principles which say that we should all be treated like humans, to never lie and to not violate ethics.
During the day and the night of Wednseday, October 31st 2012, I could not stop thinking of the conditions I saw my son in. On Thursday, November 1st, I went to the delegation of Matanzas and spoke to Midiala, who is in charge of the complaints of the people. I told her everything my eyes had seen and that my ears had heard.
On Friday, November 2nd 2012, at 4:30 PM, I spoke via telephone with the prison, specifically with the official on guard who says to be called Jorge. I asked him about my son. He responded that since Thursday, November 1st, they had transferred him to the clinic, gave him a bed sheet, a sweater and other clothes, as well as being seen by a doctor, all of which turned out to be false.
On Sunday, November 4th 2012, during morning hours after 9 AM, I spoke to another official who did not say his name and he told me that my son was still in a cell. So, seeing as there is nothing concrete according to what is happening with Michel, I personally went to the Aguica Prison on Tuesday, November 6th to know the truth, seeing as the only thing they know how to do is lie, trick, and mistreat people. When they direct themselves to the world, the reflect a façade of being the good guys, of lending medical attention to anyone in need, while in reality they are friends of deceit, hypocrisy, mistreatment, lies, and abuse. They never demonstrate that side to the world.
This past November 5th 2012, during night hours, he was takern to the prison’s clinic.
This has been a denouncement from his mother:
Lázara de Jesús Pérez Martín from the town of Union de Reyes. General Betancourt Street, #37, between Maximo Gomez and Antonio Maceo. Matanzas Province, Cuba.