Havana, Cuba / Washington, D.C. / Miami, FL, March 11, 2011 - Óscar Elías Biscet González’srelease from prison in Cuba today is celebrated by the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom Now, who are joined by supporters of human rights and democracy around the world. Dr. Biscet, a noted advocate for human rights and democratic freedoms in his native Cuba, had been arrested in late 2002 for merely exercising basic civil liberties, convicted on sham charges, and was serving a 25-year prison sentence. Dr. Biscet’s release follows the July 2010 announcement by the Cuban Catholic Church that a number of unjustly-imprisoned Cuban political prisoners would be freed. On Monday, March 14, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Biscet will conduct his first official news conference since being released via a two-way web stream between Havana and Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus where his colleagues at the Lawton Foundation, Freedom Now, his family, supporters, other community leaders and members of the media will be gathered in the campus’ James K. Batten Community Room (2106). He will deliver some remarks and take questions from the media.
Dr. Biscet, a medical professional, is the founder and President of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights and a leading organizer of the “Friends of Human Rights” group in Cuba. He was repeatedly subjected to inhumane treatment during his imprisonment. His cause has been taken up by supporters of human rights around the world, as numerous governments and the United Nations for years have called for his release. Dr. Biscet was awarded (in absentia) the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2007 and has received numerous other awards for his non-violent advocacy for human rights and political freedom in Cuba.
Dr. Angel Garrido, Vice President of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, said “The Lawton Foundation for Human Rights and all freedom loving Cubans and humanitarians everywhere are delighted that Dr. Biscet today is a free man, as he should be. We extend our gratitude to the Catholic Church and others who played a role in securing his release.”
Jeremy Zucker, Chairman of the Board of Freedom Now, which has represented Dr. Biscet for many years, welcomed the release. “Dr. Biscet has dedicated his life to the promotion of human rights and democracy. It was wonderful to speak with him and hear the freedom resonating in his voice. While we are pleased that Oscar has been released from prison, he never should have been imprisoned in the first place. We look forward to the day when everyone in Cuba is truly free.”
MDC has many ties with Dr. Biscet. He is the recipient of an honorary degree from the college, his son is a graduate of the college, and, last year, MDC was the site of the premiere of the riveting documentary Oscar’s Cuba.
Live, two-way web conference between Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and his colleagues at the Lawton Foundation, Freedom now and his family who will be gathered at Miami Dade College in downtown Miami
•WHEN: Monday, Mar. 14, 10:30 AM
•WHERE: Secure location in Havana – Dr. Biscet
Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus – Lawton Foundation, Freedom Now and members of the media 300 NE Second Avenue
James K. Batten Community Room (2106)
Web Stream Information
The live web stream will be active starting on Monday, March 14, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. You can access the stream by visiting http://22.214.171.124/live1. You will need Windows Media Player in order to view the stream. If you are using a Mac, you can download the Windows Media alternative, Flip4Mac for free.
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, firstname.lastname@example.org, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949, email@example.com, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, firstname.lastname@example.org, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482, email@example.com
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359, firstname.lastname@example.org, media specialist