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BosNewsLife – The family of one of Cuba ‘s most prominent jailed Christian dissidents, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, urged the international community Tuesday, November 15, to fight for his release amid concerns over the doctor’s health and new prison rules.
Dr. Biscet, 44, “suffers from hypertension, chronic gastritis, and high cholesterol [and] has not been able to receive the food items his family brings him,” said his wife Elsa Morejon Hernandez, and his parents, Hilda G. Gonzalez Alvarez and Luis N. Biscet Cadet in a statement to BosNewsLife.
“The last time we saw Oscar, he was very thin but in great spiritual peace with a smile on his lips and his heart full of love. He says he feels well in spite of having high blood pressure.”
The family said they are concerned his situation will worsen because the leadership of the Combinado del Este Prison in Havana where he is held refuses to give him privileges as long as he refuses to wear a common prisoner uniform. He believes there is no reason to wear any prison uniform as he is no criminal.
“The number of family visits has [therefore] been reduced, and instead of being every 45 days, the visits will now be every four months, two hours long,” the family said. In addition “his cell frequently lacks water, and his is not permitted to go outside into the sunlight daily…He is only allowed to go outside every 8 тo 10 days.”
Dr. Biscet, who is known to be a Christian pro-life activist and a medical doctor opposing abortion and the death penalty as well as the Communist regime, was sentenced to 25 years on 7 April 2003 in a massive crackdown on human rights activists across the island.
He earlier received a three-year jail term on charges of “disrespecting patriotic symbols” including hanging a Cuban flag upside down during a news conference, news reports said. Human rights group Amnesty International considers Dr. Biscet, who also heads the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, a prisoner of conscience. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has reportedly called him a “crazy little man.”
“Criticizing injustices in a civilized way and practicing non-violence is a virtuous act, but it was for these reasons that he was sentenced to 25 years in prison along with 75 other Cubans,” his family said. He will complete a separate 6 years sentence for “disrespecting patriotic symbols” on December 6, family members added.
“We pray that God will touch the hearts of many good people in the world”, they said. “Help us get him out of the human misery in which this black, humble, Christian man, the father of two children, a medical professional, and human rights activist who loves all of humanity has been placed to live.”
Christian faith plays apparently an important role in the prison life of Dr. Biscet. “I am praying to God so that his situation is resolved in the best manner possible. I ask you, my mother and my friends to read Psalm 11,” he wrote last year in a letter obtained by BosNewsLife. “I have the spiritual sustenance and the strength that God provides to all those who love him in justice and truth,” he wrote.
Cuban President Fidel Castro has denied there are dissidents and has described them as “mercenaries of the United States and anti-revolutionaries.”