José Daniel Ferrer García is a Cuban ' activist, and leader of the unofficial political opposition group “Patriotic Union of Cuba” (Unión Patriótica de Cuba - UNPACU). He has endured threats and harassment in the past and has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his human rights, for which Amnesty International has previously recognised him as a prisoner of conscience.
On 11 July 2021, José Daniel tried to attend the demonstrations in Santiago de Cuba with his son José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo. He left his house at approximately 5 pm and walked past the state security officials who constantly monitor him but was stopped a few metres ahead by other law enforcement officials, according to his family.
The Provincial Prosecutor's Office argued in a legal document seen by Amnesty International that Jose Daniel and his son had shouted anti-government slogans.
Initially the Public Prosecutor's Office placed him in pre-trial detention and accused him of “public disorder” for attempting to join the protests on 11 July. According to a court document which Amnesty International was able to review, dated 12 August, his conditional discharge from prison based on a previous conviction has also been revoked and he now has to spend 4 years prison
. Authorities barred international organizations from monitoring that trial at the time, which was tainted by irregularities
His son has been released on the condition that he report regularly to the authorities, and sign a document accepting not to protest further, an inadmissible restriction on his rights to freedom of expression and assembly according to international human rights standards.
Jose Daniel Ferrer’s son is the last person close to him to have seen José Daniel when they were both taken to Versalles detention centre following their arrest. Since that moment there has been no record of José Daniel's whereabouts. Authorities have not allowed them to see or communicate with him and have not provided any documents certifying his whereabouts.
In a ruling of 23 July, the People's Provincial Court of Santiago de Cuba denied a habeas corpus petition submitted on his behalf. While the document confirmed he has been deprived of his liberty since 11 July, it fails to indicate where he is being held. Similarly, a court document dated 12 August which revokes his conditional discharge from a previous conviction, indicates he will be held in a prison determined by the Ministry of Interior, but fails to specify which.
Based on the available information, Amnesty International believes that this concealment of José Daniel Ferrer García's whereabouts amounts to an enforced disappearance for the purposes of Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to which Cuba is a state party.