Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Appeal for an Imprisoned Cuban Librarian

Steve Marquardt sent me the following urgent message via e-mail:

Dr. José Luis García Paneque is the director of the Carlos J. Finlay Library, which specializes in medical information. He is serving a 20-year prison term. His life is in danger as a result of a failure to
provide health care for chronic rectal bleeding and other health
problems. Dr. Garcia Paneque has been named as a prisoner of
conscience by Amnesty International, which along with other human
rights groups is calling for his immediate release.

To help save the life of Dr. García Paneque, it would be appreciated if librarians around the world would send immediate appeals on his behalf - asking for immediate provision of necessary medical care and for his release from prison as a nonviolent prisoner of conscience - to Cuba's "official" library association, known by the acronym ASCUBI, which has influence with Cuban government officials. The e-mail address of ASCUBI is: (ascubi@bnjm.cu). Please send COPIES of your message to: (alex.byrne@uts.edu.au ) and (r.p.sturges@lboro.ac.uk).

You can also send an airmail (90 cents) letter to:
Raúl Castro Ruz, Presidente Interino
Los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros
La Habana

Dr. José Luis García Paneque received his medical degree in 1987. He is a plastic surgeon by training and a member of the unofficial Colegio Médico Independiente de Cuba, Cuban Independent Medical Association.

For his dissident activities, he was expelled in 1997 from the Ernesto Guevara hospital in Las Tunas. In 1998 he joined Libertad, an independent news agency of the Nueva Prensa Cubana project and was a member of unofficial Sociedad de Periodistas, Journalists' Society, "Manuel Marquez Sterling." In 2002, he was reportedly arrested and detained together with other journalists, but was later released.

José Luis García was detained on 18 March 2003. Following a search of
his house, materials, correspondence and medical equipment were reportedly confiscated. He was charged and tried under Law 88 and Article 91 of the Penal Code, and given a 24-year sentence, even though the prosecution had called for a lesser sentence of 18 years. He is held in the El Yayal (Cuba Sí) prison.

Dr. García Paneque's weight has dropped from 86 kg.to 46 kg. (100 pounds) due to the development in prison of intestinal malabsorption syndrome, a disease that causes him to suffer from severe chronic diarrhea and continuous hemorrhagic colitis. He also suffers from severe pain in the abdomen. The Cuban government sometimes withholds
medical care from prisoners of conscience as a form of punishment.

Additional information about this case is available at:

click here


I thank you for your support for human rights and the freedom to read, and for your response to this appeal.


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