Amnesty International Working to Have Cuban Pro-Life Doctor Released

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

( - An Amnesty International official in Washington told that the organization is working to get pro-life activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet released from a Cuban prison after he was sentenced last week to three years for his anti-abortion activities and for flying the Cuban flag upside down.

Amnesty International said Biscet should be released because he was only practicing "free expression" and is a "prisoner of conscience."

Amnesty International reportedly tried to have an envoy admitted to the trial in Havana last week but was refused by the Cuban government.

Additionally, The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) has condemned the sentencing of Biscet and is trying to organize other international human rights groups to also call for his release.

"It's very clear we condemn the imprisonment of Dr. Biscet. We have been working closely with the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. They have all the information. We've asked them to send an envoy [to Cuba]," Luis Zuniga, spokesman for CANF told

CANF, according to Zuniga, will be presenting their case before the UN Human Rights Commission when it meets next month in Geneva.

The UN Human Rights Commission office in Geneva said it had no comment on the case when contacted by

Zuniga said that the Castro government does not want Biscet "walking the streets" in the island nation.

Biscet heads a human rights organization in Cuba called "Lawton" that is calling on the Castro government to "respect the rights of the people." He reportedly has been arrested more than 20 times and in 1999 he was detained on charges of organizing a pro-life campaign as well as going on hunger strikes.

"They don't want him out on the streets. They have put pressure on him to emigrate and he has refused, so the other alternative is prison," Zuniga claimed.

The Cuban government may also prosecute Biscet on charges of having held pro-life protest in front of the Havana hospital where he worked, according to Zuniga.

"There is another indictment already issued against Dr. Biscet that it also demanding another three year imprisonment because of what they [the Cuban government] called a public disorder," said Zuniga.

"He just stood in front of a hospital in Havana where he worked and he knows quite well that the abortion practices that are real assassinations that are going on there. He has explained that even the babies that are born alive are processed for abortion. They have put the baby inside a bag and close the bag and suffocate the baby," Zuniga said.