(New York, December 16, 2016) – Cuban authorities should order the immediate release of Danilo Maldonado Machado, the graffiti artist known as “El Sexto,” whom they arrested on November 26, 2016, and have been treating with increasing severity ever since, Human Rights Watch said today.
Police arrested Maldonado after he posted on social media a video of himself celebrating Fidel Castro’s death earlier that day. Since then, he has been held incommunicado in various detention centers for as long as three days at a time. Family members who have seen him said he had been severely beaten on several occasions and subjected to three days of solitary confinement, naked and without food. Though still not charged with a crime, he was transferred on December 14 to a high-security prison that houses convicted criminals. Authorities have given his family no information about how long he will remain there.
“Nobody should be arrested for expressing political views,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “And under no circumstances should anyone be beaten or held incommunicado, or imprisoned prior to trial alongside criminals who have been tried and sentenced.”