Pinar del Río, March 21, 2017
From: Lázaro Ruiz Echevarría, ID 81112600967, resident in Pasaje 56 número 82 reparto Hermanos Barcón, ciudad de Pinar del Río
To: Military Prosecutor’s Office in Pinar del Río
The morning of last Monday, March 20, I was kidnapped, along with my family, by State Security forces and several police officers, during which I was dispossessed of belongings I legally brought into the country.
After arriving from Madrid, the evening of the 19th, at Havana’s José Martí international airport, as I was going through customs I realized Lt. Col. Veunes and Cap. Juan Pérez Fuentes of State Security in Pinar del Río were present to demand Customs authorities to thoroughly check me.
The procedure lasted from 9:50 pm until 2 in the morning, and the had me undo, piece by piece, my luggage without finding anything unusual. They only detected some pullovers I brought with me as a present for friends, and were confiscated. Everything else was in order and I had no problem at the airport.
As I was leaving, with my elderly mother, my wife and my sister in a cab, an operative/operation was waiting for us on Kilometer 96 of the Pinar del Río highway. A police Niva number 116 with four uniformed officers, three men and one woman, stopped the cab, made us leave the car and took me to the police car while my family followed us under custody in the cab.
Instead of taking us to a nearby police station in the Los Palacios municipality, we were driven to an agricultural warehouse, where they had me pull out, in dim light and on the parking lot’s dirt floor, all my luggage, and searched me again. There, they took my personal computer, a cellphone in its casing I brought as a birthday present for my son and a total of 315 euros, 300 of which were sent by my cousin for her mother.
The confiscation was carried out by an officer who said he was an instructor under orders from a security officer known as Jorgito and other unidentified persons who were with him. They did not allow me to show them the sales slips and the documents legalizing those articles belonging to me. This confiscation was carried out in an office which seemed to be that of the agency’s director, where the security agents threatened me in blatant harassment. The pointed out that what was happening was not an arrest, but I was held almost two hours during which my family’s dignity was violated as they were subjected to frisking and insults.
Finally, the officers refused to hand me a record of the confiscations and released us almost at 6 in the morning so we could continue our way to the city of Pinar del Río.
The Cuban penal code, in its Title XII, chapter VIII, article 333, says: Anyone illegally in possession of property belonging to others is liable to the penalty of imprisonment for three months to one year or a fine from 100 to 300 cuotas, or both.
Also, Section II, Title IX Chapter I article 279 says:
“Anyone who, with no power for it and besides the cases and the procedures established by law, deprives someone else of their personal freedom is liable to the penalty of imprisonment for two to five years.
- The penalty of four to ten years of imprisonment applies:
a) if the action is carried out for the purpose of profit or vengeance;
- b) if the action results in severe damage for the victim’s health, dignity or property.”
Also, the Constitution of the Republic assures in Chapter VI that:
Article 41 – All citizens enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same duties.
Article 42 – Discrimination because of| race, color of the skin, sex, national origin, religious beliefs and any other harm to human dignity is banned and is punished by law.
I thus demand all my property is returned to me and all harassment against myself or my family be immediately stopped.
With no futher issues: Lázaro Luis Ruiz Echeverría.
By People’s Defenders Daudy Hermelo Lago, José Ernbesto Morales Estrada, Rigoberto González Vigoa and Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre