Cuban-Spanish citizen imprisoned in 11J jumps from a fifth floor

“What I remember is that a guard grabbed him by the neck and as if he was leaving with him, and I was pulling the guard, and my screams, and people running,” the young man's mother told CiberCuba.

Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo, preso del 11J © Facebook / Teresa Ortiz
Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo, prisoner of 11J Photo © Facebook / Teresa Ortiz

This article is from 1 year ago

The Spanish Cuban citizen Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo, sentenced to 12 years in prison for demonstrating peacefully on 11J, He tried to jump from a fifth floor before the astonished gaze of his mother, health workers and officials from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) in Holguín.

The events took place on November 5 at the Lucia Íñiguez Landín Clinical Surgical Hospital, in the city of Holguín, where he had been admitted in mid-October with suspicions of multiple sclerosis, after having spent a month in the infirmary of the Provincial Prison of that territory.

What happened does not surprise the family who have had to deal with Prieto's psychiatric conditions since he was a teenager. “I have been saying for a year or so that they take Josué to the doctor, asking that the psychiatrist see him”, said to CyberCuba Niurka Ricardo Hidalgo, mother of the political prisoner.

Since he was five years old, the young man, who is legally a resident of the United States, He suffers from depressive syndrome, aggravated after the death of his sister in that country and during the political prison. From a very young age he has been admitted for treatment for his depressive crises and on two previous occasions he had attempted to take his life.

Third suicide attempt

On November 5, Prieto was being transferred from his ward for tests for symptoms of appendicitis.

"We went out through the hallway on the fifth floor. A guard came with him carrying the chair, one in front, the head of the room and me. They brought him handcuffed by the feet, handcuffed by the hands in a wheelchair. He did not kill himself because he came in a wheelchair and by the hand of Jehovah, because if he comes on a stretcher, at the height of the wall, he will kill himself.", said the young man's mother.

“Look, we don't know how, in what way, if he is handcuffed and handcuffed, he manages to jump from the wheelchair to the wall. And one of the guards grabbed him and grabbed him by the handcuffs on his feet. "He was left hanging.", account.

Niurka can't remember details, she just repeats that that was crazy. “What I remember is that a guard grabbed him by the neck and as if he was leaving with him, and me pulling the guard, and my screams, and people running. I don't even know how they uploaded it.", he adds.

Niurka understands the desperation of her son who has not only been sentenced to 12 years in prison for sedition, a crime against state security, just because he peacefully participated in the anti-government protests on July 11, 2021 in Holguín.

In addition, Security has imposed obstacles so that his son has access to legal assistance and so that doctors can finally determine the neurological diagnosis of the political prisoner.

The motive for suicide

In just over a year of political imprisonment, Prieto's health has deteriorated considerably. He has been infected with COVID twice, has had scabies, bed bug bites and He has lost 70% of the vision in his right eye. His emotional stability has also been seriously compromised.

In September he entered the infirmary of the prison hospital and in October he could no longer care for himself, according to the family's statements to CiberCuba at the time.

Despite this, State Security denied the family the right to accompany him in the hospital and the political prisoner had to depend on the assistance of other inmates admitted to the hospital's criminal ward “to bathe and do everything,” his denounced. girlfriend, Roxana Hernández Estrada.

“He couldn't even eat, he arrived here on a stretcher and he couldn't even help himself.” Niurka said and added that even the family and the hospital's medical staff requested that the girlfriend or mother could assist him with his cleanliness "and even that, they never allowed it."

“And I see that other inmates who have been there have been released for having surgery and other things and their families help them. "Why not him, under these conditions?" asks the woman who understands that her son has reasons to be desperate.

Nor did Security authorize the transfer of the young man to the Neurology ward, contrary to the medical criteria that suspect multiple sclerosis even without confirming it because clinical records that could prove it have disappeared.

The clinical history

According to previous examinations, Mario Josué “He has demyelinating retrobulbar optic neuropathy, which is why he has a lack of vision in that eye… that is one of the causes, how multiple sclerosis begins”says the mother, replicating the words of the neurologist who treats him.

The test that would give the definitive diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is an MRI performed in Santiago de Cuba on November 4, whose preliminary results were delivered to the prison health personnel and not to the doctors at the Surgical Clinic who care for the patient.

“Their papers have disappeared by magic, the resonance... For what purpose do their papers disappear? What hand is behind all that?”, the mother denounces.

The loss of medical records is something that has Mario Josué unbalanced. In fact, the mother remembers, the day he tried to commit suicide, the family had a few words with the medical staff and MININT officers about the inexplicable disappearance that hinders a diagnosis for which they could grant an extra-penal license to the sick young man.

“There is no justice, someone has to put their hand on their heart. They intimidate everyone, they pressure them, I don't know what's happening.", he laments between sobs.

Added to the above is the lack of medicines. The young man, who presents a slight motor improvement compared to the almost vegetative state in which he entered the hospital, does not come out of depression. The tremors improved, but when the family cannot guarantee medication and the prison does not provide it, he begins to visibly regress. Benadryline, omeprazole and methylprednisolone are 'obtained' or purchased through family and friends, but clonazepam has been missing for up to four days and the tremors return.

Legal helplessness

As if all of the above were not enough, the Cuban authorities deny the Spanish citizen legal representation from a lawyer of his choice.

About a month ago, a Spanish lawyer offered to represent Mario Josué, however, everything has been obstacles.

First, the authorities told the political prisoner's family that a power of attorney was needed, then that it had to be through legal consulting with the amount of thousands of pesos involved in the process, because the young Spanish citizen was.

“I went to the embassy and asked for it there too, to do everything as it should, but no, Jails and prisons do not allow it. "They don't let the notary come so that Mario Josué can sign it."says, frustrated, the mother who no longer knows what to do and has exhausted all possible avenues for the authorities to take into account her son's delicate state of health.

In mid-September, the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, based in Madrid, sent a ruling on Prieto's case to the Spanish government.

The report, also sent to the United Nations, ensures that "obvious legal errors have been made and this is a serious and humanitarian situation, with danger to the life of the Spanish citizen". Now the situation is much more complicated.

“If Mario Josué returns to prison he is going to commit suicide. He's going to kill himself if he did it here before our own eyes. Who is going to take care of him there? Someone has to help me, something has to happen. “My son cannot die,” the desperate mother pleads.

What do you think?


Filed in:

Annarella Grimal

Annarella O'Mahony (or Grimal). Citizen apprentice, with a Master's degree awarded by the University of Limerick (Ireland). He already had children, adopted a pet, planted a tree, and published a book.

Do you have something to report?
Write to CiberCuba:

 +1 786 3965 689