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Startseite Urgent Actions 2022 05 Prisoners of conscience face trial
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Aktiv seit 27. Mai 2022 | Noch 23 Tage Laufzeit

Prisoners of conscience face trial

AI-Index: AMR 25/5660/2022

The trials of Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez, prisoners of conscience, are set to start on 30 May and 31 May, respectively, in Cuba. Otero Alcántara and Castillo Pérez have been in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, after being detained for criticizing the Cuban government. A prosecutor has requested that they be sentenced to seven and ten years in prison. We urge Cuban authorities to grant access to international organizations to monitor the trials and to immediately unconditionally release these prisoners of conscience.


On 11 July 2021, thousands of people took to the streets in Cuba to demonstrate peacefully, in an exercise of their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and to express their discontent about the economic situation in the country. In response to the protests, authorities, under the leadership of President Miguel Díaz-Canel, scaled-up a decades-long policy of repression that criminalizes peaceful protest and imprisons ordinary Cubans for expressing their views.

Hundreds of human rights activists, artists and ordinary Cubans have been detained, and criminalized for participating in the nation-wide protest. Some remain imprisoned, and are yet to receive a trial, and many others have faced unfair trials, that have been characterized by violations of due process, and charges for crimes such as: «contempt», «public disorder», and «resistance«», all crimes inconsistent with international human rights standards.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is an artist and member of the San Isidro Movement. Amnesty International had declared him a prisoner of conscience on three previous occasions. On 11 July 2021, he was detained by two state security agents in Havana, shortly after posting a video in which he declared his intention to join the protests.

Maykel Castillo Pérez, more commonly known by his artistic name: «Maykel Osorbo», is a Cuban musician and member of the San Isidro Movement. He is also one of the co-authors of the son «Patria y Vida», that has become a protest anthem for its critical view of the Cuban government. The musician has been subjected to constant harassment by authorities and has been arbitrarily detained on many occasions. On 18 May 2021, state security agents detained the musician at his home, and for the 10 days following his arrest, refused to provide information on his whereabouts to family and loved ones.

On 19 August 2021, Amnesty International named Otero Alcántara and Castillo Pérez prisoners of conscience, along with other Cubans detained in the context of the protests of 11 July 2021. On 24 March 2022, the organization issued a press release calling authorities to allow it and other human rights observers access to the country to monitor the trials. On 26 May 2022, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a joint statement calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Otero Alcántara and Castillo Pérez, ahead of the start of their trials.

Cuba remains the only country in the Americas that does not permit Amnesty International to visit to carry out human rights monitoring work.

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Take action on Social media: Infos see the yellow field on the right.

  • Please take action before 22 July 2022.

  • Preferred language: Spanish. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

→ Model letter in spanish see below / Modelo de carta en español ver abajo

Dear President of Cuba,

I am writing to express my deepest concern for the lives and integrity of Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez, who have been deprived of their liberty for nearly a year and who are set to stand trial starting on 30 May.

After having reviewed all available evidence, Amnesty International considers that they are being detained only because of exercising their right to criticize their government and has named them, along with other Cubans detained following the 11 July protests, prisoners of conscience.

A prosecutor has requested that Otero Alcántara and Castillo Pérez be sentenced to seven and ten years in prison, respectively, on a range of charges related to their criticism of the Cuban government.

I urge you to grant access to international organizations to monitor the trials and to immediately and unconditionally release Maykel Castillo Pérez and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.

Yours sincerely,

Model letter in spanish open here / Aqui modelo de carta en español

Señor Presidente:
Me dirijo a usted para expresarle mi más profunda preocupación por la vida y la integridad de Manuel Otero Alcántara y Maykel Castillo Pérez, quienes llevan casi un año privados de su libertad y cuyo juicio está previsto que se inicie el 30 de mayo.
Tras haber examinado todas las pruebas disponibles, Amnistía Internacional considera que estos dos hombres se encuentran detenidos exclusivamente por ejercer su derecho a criticar a su gobierno, y los ha adoptado a ambos, junto con otras personas detenidas en Cuba tras las protestas del 11 de julio, como presos de conciencia.
Un fiscal ha solicitado que Otero Alcántara y Castillo Pérez sean condenados a siete y diez años de prisión, respectivamente, por una serie de cargos relacionados con sus críticas al gobierno cubano.
Le insto a conceder acceso a las organizaciones internacionales para que asistan como observadoras a los juicios, y a poner en libertad inmediata e incondicional a Maykel Castillo Pérez y Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.


Appeals to

Mr. Miguel Díaz-Canel
President of Cuba

Twitter: @DiazCanelB
Facebook: @PresidenciaDeCuba

Additional target

Bruno Rodríguez
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba

Twitter: @BrunoRguezP
Facebook: @CubaMINREX


Copies to

Botschaft der Republik von Kuba
Gesellschaftsstrasse 8
3012 Bern

Fax: 031 302 98 30

Social media guide

The following tweets are suggested:

Urgent: Trial of Luis Manuel and Maykel «Osorbo» start on May 30 in Havana: they must be immediately released from detention. Peaceful protests are not a crime @DiazCaneIB

One year later: #Cuba court will trial two individuals detained because they criticized, they own government. @DiazCanelB we call for immediate release for Luis Manuel and Maykel «Osorbo»

Luis Manuel and Maykel «Osorbo» two Cuban artists should have never been put in prison for peacefully protesting against their government.  @DiazCanelB @BrunoRguezP

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