Sentenced to jail because of a “Down with Fidel” tattoo

Maikel Bencomo, serving a two-year prison sentence for disrespect for authority, says he was arrested eight times before being tried over a tattoo on his back that said “Down with Fidel.”

Bencomo, 27, is serving his sentence at the Calderón a work camp in Havana province. He was sentenced last year.

Bencom was arrested in Artesima in Pinar del Río province as he was about to depart for Havana to take part in a pacifist demonstration. “The political police have a policy of detaining you so you can’t travel if they learn you’re going to participate in some activity,” he said in a telephone interview. “They cited me, arrested me and threw me in jail.”

He said he was beaten in jail and tried the next day at the municipal court without a lawyer to defend him. “The same agent who beat me told me that if I didn’t remove the tattoo saying ‘Down with Fidel’ they were going to arrest me when I get out of prison and charge me with being a social danger,” he said.

Bencomo said he still has the tattoo.

Political prisoners prevented from attending bishop’s mass

HAVANA, Cuba, April 15 (Miriam Leiva / – Six political prisoners who were scheduled to attend an Easter mass Saturday at the Pinar del Río provincial prison were prevented from doing so because they refused to wear prison uniforms, according to the wife of one of the men.

Arrangements had been made for 15 prisoners, some from other prisons, to attend the ceremony presided over by the Bishop of Pinar del Río, Jorge Enrique Serpa.

Elsa González, wife of Víctor Rolando Arroyo, said her husband and five other prisoners were prevented from attending mass because they refused to wear prison uniforms.

She said the bishop asked to speak to the prisoners, but only one of them, Diosdado González Marrero, was brought in. He was wearing dark pants and a white shirt. Prison officials told the bishop the order to deny entry to the six came from their superiors.

Youth found shot to death at Havana military facility

HAVANA, Cuba, April 15 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra- CIHPRESS / – Carlos Alberto Padilla said the body of his 18-year-old son, Luís Alberto Padilla Boach, riddled with 13 bullet holes, was turned over to the family last Sunday after being found at a military facility.

“He was unrecognizable,” said Padilla. “They shot him in the head, the stomach and the feet. We don’t know what happened since my son was not a delinquent and he wasn’t doing his Obligatory Military Service. We don’t know how he ended at the place where he was found because it’s a military unit.”

Padilla said authorities have not given him any explanation for his son’s death.

His body was found at a military facility near the 1580 Prison in the Havana municipality of San Miguel del Padrón.

Prisoner detected with HIV virus in solitary confinement

HAVANA, Cuba, April 15 (Ignacio Estrada Cepero - CIHPRESS / –The Cuban Human Rights Commission that deals with AIDS victims says a prisoner was placed in solitary confinement at the Cerámica Roja Prison in Camagüey after the HIV virus was detected.

The commission advised the Ministry of Public Health on Tuesday about the case of Georbis Matos Pérez, 21. It also protested his confinement to the Ministries of the Interior and Justice.

The commission said Matos Pérez has spent 11 days in solitary confinement.