Cuban political prisoner Armando Sosa Fortuny, in two different stints, has spent more than half of his life in the Castro gulag.
That is more than enough, says the Madrid-based Cuban Human Rights Observatory, which has started an international campaign to demand the 71-year-old's release.
Sosa doesn't appear on most lists of Cuban political prisoners> but his more than 37 years in prison are testament to his willingness to fight Castro from the front lines.
A Cuban exiled in the United States as a teenager, Sosa returned to his homeland in 1960 to participate in an anti-communist insurgency. He was imprisoned until 1978, when he was released and again took to exile.
In October 1994, at the age of 52, he returned Cuba, with the aim of starting another urgency. He and several other men were arrested a Cuban civilian was shot to death during a struggle with one of Sosa's compatriots. Sosa says the shooting was accidental, but that didn't stop the Cuban government from sentencing him to 30 years in prison.
Tuesday, Oct. 15, was the 19th anniversary of Sosa's imprisonment.
Sosa, said the Human Rights Observatory, is "sick and alone on the island. Hypertension and diabetes have compromised his health, diminished his vision. ... His family members, who live in Miami, have not been able to see him in many years."
His release "would not be a political matter, or even a legal one. It would be humanitarian," the Human Rights Obervatory said.
The dictatorship in 1994 labeled Sosa and the others he landed on Cuba with as "terrorists." But as the Human RIghts Obervatory said, his only crime is "defending with arms the freedom that had been snatched" from him.
"We may agree or disagree with the method Fortuny Sosa chose to get it, but we agree that 37 years in prison is too many years," the human rights group said.
"He does not deserve another day in prison."
You can sign a petition in support of Sosa's release here.