Madrid makes efforts in favor of the Spanish prisoner Mario Prieto Ricardo

Madrid makes efforts in favor of the Spanish prisoner Mario Prieto Ricardo

The Consulate of Spain in Havana has mobilized for the case of Mario Prieto Ricardo, a Cuban with Spanish nationality convicted of the anti-government protests of July 11, 2021, as confirmed to 14ymedio the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain.

“The Spanish Consulate is carrying out the appropriate steps and is in contact with the corresponding authorities,” a spokesperson for the Diplomatic Information Office responded to this newspaper. Although he could not offer details about an intervention that is expected to be complex, the response denies the information that has circulated that Spain ignores the case.

Prieto Ricardo, who lives in the US, traveled to Cuba in March 2020 to spend a few days with his family after the death of his sister, but the closure of borders due to the pandemic prevented him from returning home.

The 11J protests led him, like so many young people his age, to take to the streets of Holguín to demonstrate against the lack of means and freedoms. A day later he was arrested and released after paying a fine and receiving a warning, but on July 23 the police returned to take him away.

According to his family, from that moment on he suffered long interrogations in which he was psychologically tortured and charged with the crime of sedition. The young Spaniard, 27 years old, was sentenced in the first instance to 17 years in prison for this crime, but the supreme court He reduced his sentence to 12 although the Prosecutor’s Office requested 28.

According to his family, he underwent long interrogations in which he was psychologically tortured and was charged with the crime of sedition.

Prieto Ricardo’s relatives, worried about his health due to the poor conditions in which he is in prison, decided to ask for international help and sent a letter to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking it to exert international pressure.

Mario Prieto López and Niurka Ricardo Hidalgo warned that their son had lost more than 20 kilos in prison. Although, according to the parents, the young man was previously diagnosed with “personality disorder, neurosis and suicidal risk”, he has not been seen by a psychiatrist since he has been in prison and has not received the medication he needs to control his mental health.

Due to his delicate health condition, the Cuban Human Rights Observatory (OCDH), based in Madrid, has included him in the list of especially worrying cases among political prisoners.

“In recent days, we have received reports of health ailments that have occurred or aggravated in political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. In several cases, the complaint includes indifference on the part of the prison authorities or the lack of adequate treatment for their ailments,” the NGO said this summer, asking that the International Red Cross and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention enter Cuban prisons.

Although the young man was diagnosed with “personality disorder, neurosis and suicidal risk”, he has not been seen by any psychiatrist since he was in jail

The Observatory has also drawn the attention of the Spanish authorities, which it urged to take action in a recent statement. “Doing nothing is the worst option. Pressure from Spain could be decisive in obtaining the release of Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo,” the NGO wrote.

Ricardo Hidalgo appealed in his letter last week to “the feelings of the Spanish authorities, and of the entire European Union if necessary, to help us process and get my son out of here.”

In any case, Spanish law obliges the authorities to pay “special attention to those who find themselves in situations of need and to those deprived of their liberty, fundamentally those sentenced to death or life imprisonment, as well as to Spanish citizens who has been a victim of crimes against humanity in processes of political repression”.

Although there is little room for maneuver, the Spanish authorities have previously negotiated the release of some convicted prisoners in Cuba. A precedent was the release of 52 political prisoners, who had been detained during the so-called Black Spring, and who were released and sent to Spain in 2010.

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