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Cuba: Prisoners

Volume 702: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made representations to the Government of Cuba encouraging them to abide by the United Nations standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners; and, if so, what was the result. [HL3750]

We have made no representations to the Government of Cuba on the UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.

However, our embassy in Havana continues to monitor the situations of political prisoners who are reported to be suffering ill health without adequate medical treatment and maintains contact with their supporters, including their immediate families. We regularly raise the issue of political prisoners with the Cuban authorities both in London and Havana and call for their immediate release. Most recently, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Meg Munn, raised the issue of the release of political prisoners with the vice-president of the National Assembly of People's Power, Jaime Crombert Hernandez-Baquero, in November 2007 and with Cuban Vice Foreign Minister, Eumelio Caballero, in April 2008.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made representations to the Government of Cuba concerning the health and treatment in prison of Dr José Luís García Paneque, the former head of the independent news agency Libertad, presently serving a 24-year sentence. [HL3751]

I refer the noble Lord to my responses on 2 June (Official Report, cols. WA 7-8). We are particularly concerned about those political prisoners, such as Dr. Paneque, who are reported to be suffering poor health yet are not provided with adequate medical treatment. Our embassy in Havana continues to monitor Dr Paneque's case and maintains contact with his supporters.