Action: Cuban blogger denied exit from country (UA 38/12)

Hi again,

since issuing this Urgent Action yesterday, we have heard that Yoani has received hundreds of messages of solidarity from across the world.  You can see what she said on Twitter

Yoani Sánchez @yoanisanchez

#cuba Me han llegado muchos emails de solidaridad gracias a esta accion urgente de Amnistia Internacional ping.fm/J3z9b

Please continue to send appeals to the authorities and show your support for Yoani.

CUBA

Yoani Sánchez (f)

Cuban authorities have refused blogger Yoani Sánchez permission to travel to Brazil to attend a documentary screening on freedom of expression. Amnesty International believes that this refusal is a punitive measure in response to her outspoken criticism of civil and political rights in Cuba.

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was informed by Cuban authorities on Friday 3 February that her application for an exit permit to travel to Brazil had been refused. She had been invited to attend a documentary screening on 10 February which features interviews with bloggers from Honduras and Cuba - including Yoani – on their experiences of censorship in their countries.

This is the nineteenth time since May 2008 that the Cuban authorities have refused to allow Yoani Sánchez permission to leave Cuba. The Migration and Immigration Directorate (Dirección de Migración y Extranjería) has denied her requests even though each time she has had a valid passport and valid visas to the destination. As on every previous occasion, Yoani Sánchez was not given a reason as to why her application had been rejected.

In her blog, Generación Y, Yoani Sánchez writes about daily life in Cuba and on the restrictions faced by the Cuban people to fully enjoy their political and civil rights. She has become one of the most prominent critics of the Cuban government, calling for an end to restrictions to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and the freedom of movement within and outside Cuba.

In recent years various Cuban dissidents have been denied exit visas by the Cuban authorities to travel abroad in order to receive human rights awards or other prizes. Amnesty International believes that the Cuban authorities' refusal to grant Yoani Sánchez an exit visa is a punitive measure in response to the peaceful expression of her critical views and is an attempt to silence her voice on the international stage.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

* Calling on the authorities to issue Yoani Sánchez with an exit visa to freely leave and return to her country;

* Reminding the authorities that the right to freedom of movement is universally recognized under Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Cuba is a signatory;

* Expressing concern at the restrictions on freedom of movement that are being imposed on Cubans, particularly dissidents and independent journalists and urging the authorities to end these restrictions.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 FEBRUARY 2012 TO: 

Head of State and Government
Raúl Castro Ruz    
Presidente de la República de Cuba
La Havana, Cuba  

Email: cuba@un.int  (c/o Cuban Mission to UN)

Fax: 00537 83 33 085 (via Foreign Ministry)

Salutation: Su Excelencia / Your Excellency
 

And copies to Yoani Sánchez herself, at yoani.sanchez@gmail.com
 

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