The organization for the defense of human rights Amnesty International has denounced in a statement Friday that the authorities of Cuba failed “miserably” in keeping their promise to release Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto.’ The London-based organization believes that the artist, in prison for almost a year, is a prisoner of conscience and argues that the attitude of Havana is “a painful illustration of the indifference of the Cuban government to freedom of expression.”
Last week, the graffiti artist warned of the possibility of resuming his hunger strike if he was not released in the first 15 days of October, as he had been promised by the authorities.
“Danilo is deprived of his liberty as punishment for peacefully expressing his views. He should be released immediately and unconditionally and should not spend another day behind bars,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
The statement said that on Thursday the authorities of the Valle Grande prison told the artist’s mother that he had served his sentence, but did not know when he would be released.
El Sexto was never brought before a judge and was never sentenced. He was arrested last December by agents of the State Security in Havana while traveling in a taxi with two pigs painted with the names “Raul” and “Fidel.” The artist had planned to stage a performance that consisted of releasing the animals in a public place. He was accused of “disrespect to the leaders of the Revolution.”
“Danilo’s story has all the elements of a science fiction novel. First they put him behind bars under the most ridiculous excuse and then leave him there without charges. The fact that the Cuban authorities continue playing with Danilo and his family is downright frightening,” said Guevara-Rosas.