BFP Magazine



Information obtained from Cuba via telephone

Monday, June 25, 2007

JUNE 2007

DR. LUIS MILÁN FERNÁNDEZ, prisoner of conscience since the Cuban government crackdown of March-April 2003, and a man who does not suffer from any emotional or mental problems, has been arbitrarily confined since February 18, 2005, to a psychiatric ward of the Prison of Boniato, in Santiago de Cuba.

Dr. Milán Fernández is forced to share a cell with two or three mental patients who are suffering a variety of disorders (obsessive compulsive, schizophrenia, depressive neurosis who attempt to commit suicide, etc.). Penal authorities follow a pattern, changing his cell mates, sometimes leaving him alone. In addition, all those criminals who must be psychiatrically evaluated at the Prison of Boniato are always assigned to remain in Dr. Milán's cell for weeks until the results of their evaluations are concluded.

During her last prison visit on June 12, 2007, Lisandra Lafitta, wife of Dr. Milán Fernández, found that her husband has lost weight and has deep dark under-eye circles. The unbearable heat in his cell and the erratic and unruly behavior of his fellow inmates (one of them had recently cut off one of his own ears) prevents him from getting enough sleep or rest, and it is impossible for Dr. Milán to read or write.

His wife added that her husband is unable to look outside of the cement blinds in his cell, " ...he can smell and hear the rain but he is unable to see it fall... "

Dr. Milán, who is 37 years old, was a very healthy man before being imprisoned. When he was transferred from the Prison of Canaleta in Ciego de Ávila (where he was confined along with 146 common prisoners) to the Combinado del Este Prison in Havana where he underwent a medical check-up, penal authorities diagnosed the following illnesses: a tumor in the left humerus, loss of hearing, pulmonary emphysema (he does not smoke but was exposed to cigarette smoke in the Prison of Canaleta), hypertension, swollen nasal turbinates, and an enlarged liver. Dr. Milán refuses to undergo the required biopsies and surgical procedures required to treat these ailments since he does not trust the medical personnel in the prison.

Dr. Luis Milán Fernández is a member of the Independent Cuban Medical Association (Colegio Médico Independiente de Cuba). In June 2001 he and his wife, a dentist, signed a document titled 'Manifiesto 2001,' calling, among other measures, for the recognition of fundamental freedoms in Cuba. Together with other health professionals they carried out a one-day hunger strike to call attention to the medical situation of detainees and other issues.

Dr. Milán was arrested and tried summarily on April 4, 2003. He was applied Law 88 and accused of "disrupting internal order, destabilizing the country and destroying the Socialist State and the independence of Cuba", and sentenced to serve 13 years in prison.

Information obtained from Cuba via telephone - Taped, transcribed, and translated by the Coalition of Cuban-American Women/ LAIDA CARRO. Tel:( 305-740-0934) Fax: (305-740-7323)

Dra. Lisandra Laffita Hernández.( wife of Dr. Milán) Address: Edificio B27, Apt.10, Reparto Antonio Maceo, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

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