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Advocacy

Joint Statement Condemning the Detention of Musician and Activist Maykel Osorbo

Cuba

On August 10, 2021, in response to the treatment and lack of due process provided to Maykel Castillo Pérez (commonly known as Maykel Osorbo) after his arbitrary arrest in May by the Cuban regime, CADAL, Freedom House, Freemuse, PEN America, and PEN International stand in support of the recently submitted report to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention by Prisoners Defenders and release the following joint statement to urge the international community to elevate efforts to protect Osorbo and other human rights defenders in Cuba:  

 “We condemn the persecution and arbitrary arrest of independent artist Maykel Osorbo by the Cuban regime on May 18th, 2021 and stand in support of Prisoners Defenders’ report submission to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In just three years, the Cuban regime has committed more than 120 repressive acts of all kinds against Osorbo in attempts to silence him from expressing his demands for fundamental freedoms and rights. Since his latest arbitrary arrest, he has not been guaranteed due process. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and should not be criminalized. The working group should investigate the case of Osorbo and publicly release its findings.  

The case of Osorbo is emblematic of the situation human rights defenders face in Cuba. State-sponsored acts of violence and cases of arbitrary arrest have severely increased over the past year, hitting a peak in July with state-sponsored attacks on peaceful demonstrators. The international community must closely monitor systemic human rights violations occurring across the country and cast a critical eye when monitoring the cases of the hundreds to potentially thousands of people who have been documented as disappeared or arrested following the events of July 11th. This also includes monitoring the cases of 124 new political prisoners documented by Prisoners Defenders in July alone.” 

Background 

Maykel Castillo Pérez, known in the cultural and activist universes as Maykel Osorbo, is a musician and author of independent music in Cuba. As a co-author of “Patria y Vida” (“Homeland and Life”) with other Cuban musicians, he has had unprecedented success. Since its release in February 2021, the song has served as a rallying cry of hope for demonstrations across the island. He is also a co-founder of Movimiento San Isidro (MSI), together with a large group of internationally recognized Cuban artists and intellectuals who also suffer the same state-sponsored discrimination and who raised their voices to denounce Decree 349. This 2018 law requires the Culture Ministry’s approval for public and private cultural activities and allows artistic production to be banned under arbitrary criteria

Osorbo has been held in pretrial detention since May 18th, after being falsely accused of assault, resistance, evasion of prisoners and detainees, contempt, public disorder, and the “propagating the epidemic”. His detention followed 14 days of forced disappearance as communicated by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

The provisional detention does not comply with international requirements or the Cuban criminal code. Osorbo has been held in the Kilo 5 y medio prison in Pinar del Río, more than 160 kilometers away from his relatives. This long-distance detention is uncommon for those being provisionally held and has subsequently impacted his legal defense efforts. 

Osorbo has been denied the special habeas corpus procedure that was presented in favor of his freedom. His case has already merited the attention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which granted him precautionary protection measures under Resolution 14/2021, on February 11th, 2021—which the Cuban government has ignored. 

Cuba is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2021 and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2020.

ESPAÑOL

Nuestras disculpas por la falta de acento en la "i", estamos trabajando en este asunto

En respuesta al mal trato y la falta del debido proceso contra Maykel Castillo Pérez (comúnmente conocido como Maykel Osorbo) luego de su arresto arbitrario en mayo a manos del régimen cubano, CADAL, Freedom House, Freemuse, PEN America y PEN International apoyan el informe presentado recientemente al Grupo de Trabajo sobre Detención Arbitraria de las Naciones Unidas por Prisoners Defenders. Las organizaciones emiten la siguiente declaración conjunta para instar a la comunidad internacional a intensificar los esfuerzos para proteger a Osorbo y a otros defensores de los derechos humanos en Cuba: 

“Condenamos la persecución y el arresto arbitrario del artista independiente Maykel Osorbo por parte del régimen cubano el 18 de mayo de 2021 y apoyamos la presentación del informe de Prisoners Defenders al Grupo de Trabajo de la ONU sobre Detención Arbitraria. En solo tres años, el régimen cubano ha cometido más de 120 actos represivos de todo tipo contra Osorbo en un intento de silenciarlo para que no exprese sus demandas de libertades y derechos fundamentales. Desde su último arresto arbitrario, no se le ha garantizado el debido proceso. La libertad de expresión es un derecho humano fundamental y no debe criminalizarse. El grupo de trabajo debe investigar el caso de Osorbo y dar a conocer públicamente sus hallazgos. 

El caso de Osorbo es emblemático de la situación que enfrentan los defensores de derechos humanos en Cuba. Los actos de violencia patrocinados por el Estado y los casos de detenciones arbitrarias han aumentado considerablemente durante el año pasado, alcanzando su pico en julio con ataques patrocinados por el Estado contra manifestantes pacíficos. La comunidad internacional debe monitorear de cerca las violaciones sistémicas de los derechos humanos que ocurren en todo el país y dar una mirada crítica al monitorear los casos de cientos a potencialmente miles de personas que han sido documentadas como desaparecidas o arrestadas luego de los eventos del 11 de julio. Esto también incluye el seguimiento de los casos de 124 nuevos presos políticos documentados por Prisoners Defenders solo en julio”. 

Antecedentes  

Maykel Castillo Pérez, conocido en los ámbitos culturales y activistas como Maykel Osorbo, es autor de música independiente en Cuba. Como coautor de “Patria y Vida” con otros músicos cubanos, ha tenido un éxito sin precedentes. Desde su lanzamiento en febrero de 2021, la canción ha servido como un grito de esperanza para las manifestaciones en toda la isla. También es cofundador del Movimiento San Isidro (MSI), junto a un nutrido grupo de artistas e intelectuales cubanos reconocidos internacionalmente quienes también sufren la misma discriminación patrocinada por el Estado y quienes alzaron la voz para denunciar el Decreto Ley 349. Esta ley de 2018 exige la aprobación del Ministerio de Cultura para actividades culturales públicas y privadas y permite prohibir la producción artística bajo criterios arbitrarios.

Osorbo se encuentra en prisión preventiva desde el 18 de mayo, luego de ser acusado falsamente de agresión, resistencia, evasión de presos y detenidos, desacato, desórdenes públicos y propagación de epidemia. Su detención se produjo después de 14 días de desaparición forzada, según lo comunicado por el Comité de Desapariciones Forzadas de la ONU.

La detención provisional no cumple con los requisitos internacionales ni con el código penal cubano. Osorbo se encuentra recluido en el penal Kilo 5 y Medio de Pinar del Río, a más de 160 kilómetros de sus familiares. Esta detención a larga distancia es poco común para quienes se encuentran detenidos provisionalmente, y también ha afectado sus esfuerzos de defensa legal.

A Osorbo se le ha negado el procedimiento especial de hábeas corpus que se presentó a favor de su libertad. Su caso ya ha merecido la atención de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), que le otorgó medidas cautelares de protección mediante la Resolución 14/2021, el 11 de febrero de 2021, las cuales el gobierno cubano ha ignorado. 

Cuba está clasificada como No Libre en Libertad en el Mundo 2021 y No Libre en Libertad en la Red 2020.  

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