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ANS – A British-based-human rights organization is calling on the international community to renew efforts for the release of Cuban human rights activist, Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, on the third anniversary of his imprisonment.

In Nov. 2005, human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) received reports that Biscet’s health continued to worsen. That occurred as the authorities at Cuba ’s Combinado del Este Prison (, where Biscet is currently being held, placed harsher restrictions on the human rights activist.

CSW reported that according to an open letter, signed by his wife Elsa Morejon Hernandez and his parents, Hilda G. Gonzalez Alvarez and Luis N. Biscet Cadet, the family has been informed that Biscet has been placed in “Maximum Severity System: Phase 1.”

That is apparently a result of Biscet’s continued refusal to wear prison uniform. As part of this punishment, his family visits have been reduced to two hours every four months (down from every 45 days). Prison authorities informed Biscet’s family that the restrictions are likely to become even harsher.

According to a news release from CSW, prison authorities said Biscet would be allowed to receive personal hygiene items and some food during the family visits. However, his family has reported that the prison has been refusing to give Biscet the food they bring that is necessary for his special dietary regimen. Biscet suffers from hypertension, chronic gastritis and high cholesterol.

According to CSW, Biscet’s family is also concerned that he is only allowed to go outside every eight to 10 days and his cell is frequently without water.

In a closing statement the family stated in a news release, “We pray to God that He would touch the hearts of many good people in the world. Please help us to remove him from the human misery into which they (the Cuban government) have put this humble, black, Christian man, the father of two children, a physician and human rights activist who so loves humanity.”

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, of CSW, said in a news release, “We are saddened by the need to observe this three year anniversary; however, while the Cuban government may hope that, with the passage of time, members of the international community might lose interest in Dr. Biscet, we are committed to ensuring this does not happen.”

Thomas added, “CSW continues to call on the U.K. government as well as on the European Union to be persistent in raising Dr. Biscet’s case, as well as the cases of the many other human rights and democracy activists in Cuba , with the appropriate authorities. We join with Elsa and Dr. Biscet’s parents in their prayers for Oscar’s freedom.”

Biscet was detained on Dec. 6 2002 for organizing informal discussion meetings for the “Friends of Human Rights” groups he was trying to establish. CSW stated that he was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison, along with scores of other human rights and democracy activists in a major crackdown on dissidents in March 2003.

CSW stated in the news release that Biscet has been confined in a punishment cell for long periods of time over the past two years, has been denied food at times, and has been in poor health. His most recent imprisonment came just one month after he had completed a three-year prison sentence for his human rights and pro-democracy activities.


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