Updated, Nov. 14, 2010 — Luis Ferrer was released in November 2010 under a deal struck by Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship. He has agreed to take exile in Spain.
Luis Enrique Ferrer García
At age 26, democracy activist Luis Enrique Ferrer García, who had helped lead the Varela Project's petition campaign to force a vote on proposed political reforms, was one of the youngest Cuban dissidents arrested and imprisoned during the "black spring" of 2003. He also received the harshest sentence, 28 years in prison, at least in part because he had implored the judges in his case to sign the Varela Project petition.
Unfortunately, Ferrer's youth has not fully protected him from the brutalities of the Castro gulag.
Milka Peña Martínez told Radio Martí last week that her husband, now 33, is suffering from numerous ailments — bone and joint problems, a pectic ulcer, gastritis, a swollen stomach, allergies and skin condition — and as is standard procedure in the gulag, he is being denied adequate medical treatment.
Other cruelties being suffered by Ferrer include being denied access to sunlight.
Human Rights First has one of the better biographical descriptions of the two brothers:
The current crackdown is not the first time that the brothers have come into conflict with the Cuban government. In 1999, Luis Enrique Ferrer was brought to court for refusing to pay a thirty peso fine that had been imposed on him for charges of “disrespect” to government officials. When Luis Enrique told the court that he refused to pay the fine because he believed that the charges were unfair and that he, in fact, had suffered the damages, he was given a six month jail sentence, which was later reduced to six months house arrest.
When Luis Enrique Ferrer left the court room with his family and other supporters, they were attacked by an awaiting mob. Many dissidents in Cuba claim that these mobs are orchestrated through the Office of State Security (OSS) and its Rapid Response Brigades. They claim that such methods are used to intimidate and harm dissidents, and, at the same time, dissuade them from speaking out.
Upon leaving the courtroom, Luis Enrique Ferrer was struck heavily in the abdomen with a hammer by a member of the mob. His mother, aged 56 at the time of the incident, and his sister, aged 26 at the time, were both violently thrown to the ground. Luis Enrique Ferrer and his supporters remained non-violent and did not fight back as they were subjected to the brutal physical attacks. OSS agents stood by in plainclothes, watching the assault, only intervening after the Ferrer brothers and their supporters had suffered injuries.
According to other activists who have worked with Luis Enrique in Cuba, before being imprisoned, he was a pioneer in organizing seminars and workshops on human rights and civic education for Santiago de Cuba. José Daniel Ferrer, apart from collecting signatures for the Varela Project, is an independent journalist whose work often deals with human rights issue
Read my original profile of Luis Ferrer, here.
You can show your support for Ferrer by joining this group on Facebook.