REPRESSIVE FORCES ARREST BLIND ACTIVIST, JUAN CARLOS GONZÁLEZ LEIVA
August 9, 2005
In Cuba, the blind lawyer and president of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, Juan Carlos González Leiva, was arrested on August 6, 2005, at 2:30 in the afternoon and taken to the National Revolutionary Police Unit in the city of Florida, located in the province of Camagüey, when around 50 activists where holding prayers, celebrating an assembly to elect the board members of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, as well as discussing general topics related to civil society and the defense of human rights.
A repressive force comprised of approximately fifty policemen and State Security agents suddenly appeared at the farm “La Caridad” in the town of “Las Mercedes” in Florida and arrested Gonzalez Leiva, expelling all other activists present.
Juan Carlos González Leiva remained under arrest during six hours at said police unit in the city of Florida, and was later transferred to and released in Ciego de Avila. He was accused of being a counterrevolutionary who had committed illegal acts and was handed an official document forbidding him to ever set foot again in Florida; warning him that if he did so he would be tried
and condemned to four years in prison for the crime of “being a potential social threat”.
On March 4, 2002, the blind lawyer was violently arrested, injured and imprisoned for carrying out a peaceful protest, along with nine other human rights activists, at a hospital in Ciego de Avila, in defense of an independent journalist who had been beaten by Cuban authorities.
Subsequent to a 26-month imprisonment where he suffered physical and mental tortures, Juan Carlos González Leiva, was brought to trial on April 26, 2004, and sentenced to four years in prison, accused of committing so called crimes of ‘public disorder’, ‘disrespect’, ‘disobedience’, and resistance’. He is presently serving the remainder of this sentence under house arrest.