Michael Carey Abadin is a 19-year-old Canadian young man, who after the peaceful protests in Cuba during the month of July, was detained by the police and is still behind bars. According to the allegations, the young man was subjected to forced labor, has contracted several serious illnesses, and given the poor care and sanitary conditions, his health condition is delicate.

According to the Canadian news agency CBC News, Abadin, whose mother is Cuban, was in Havana during the July 11 protests on the communist island but did not participate in any violent action as he is accused.

Days later the young man was detained by security forces and sent to a “labor brigade” where he was forced to perform forced labor despite serious health problems. 

Abadin, who was living with his mother, was just a few months away from moving to Canada where he would pursue his university studies, and even had already bought his plane ticket, his mother told CBC News. 

But to the surprise of his entire family, he was arrested and charged with damage to public property after allegedly throwing a rock at a police cruiser. He is still behind bars awaiting a trial that could put him behind bars for several years.

Human rights activist, Michael Lima Cuadra, requested concrete actions from the Canadian government to help the young man, who has been in prison on the island for three months.

Yvis Abadin, the mother of the young Canadian, asked for help during the interview quoted by Cuadra and told that her son has been unjustly imprisoned in Cuba, has been denied medical assistance and family visits despite having COVID and liver problems, says the message on Twitter.

In the Facebook group “Desaparecidos #SOSCuba”, created precisely to collect complaints of detentions after the 11J protests, Cuban activist and editor Salomé García Bacallao denounced:

“Michael Carey Abadin is 19 years old. His mother Yvis says that Mike was at her house on July 11. On July 12 he was sitting on the corner, two individuals threw stones and ran away, while he was arrested”.

According to the allegations, the young man reportedly contracted COVID-19 in custody and then hepatitis and HSV-1 (non-genital herpes), which is widespread in Cuban prisons. Finally, given his poor health, he was transferred to the infirmary of the Jóvenes de Occidente prison on the outskirts of Havana.

Michael Carey “is not allowed to talk on the phone because he is in isolation and his mother has not been allowed to see him again. She goes every Wednesday to bring him his things. The lawyer tells Yvis that it will be like this ‘until the prosecutor decides’,” García said.

The activist also reported that since July 11 they received 104 complaints of people under 21 years of age detained in relation to the protests.

“Work Brigades”

Work brigades are a common feature of the Cuban prison system, which is strongly criticized by Human Rights organizations. 

Juan Pappier of Human Rights Watch states that in this type of confinement, prisoners are mainly used for agricultural and construction work, usually in abusive and mistreating conditions.

It was also indicated that prisoners in Cuba do not usually receive adequate food and are expected to bring food to the prison by their relatives, as Yvis Abadin has been doing with her son.

During the July days of protest, the Cuban communist regime detained some 3,000 people. Most were released, often with house arrest. But more than 500 people are still in prison, many of them in the “work brigades.”

Cuba’s pro-democracy activists are organizing new protests for Nov. 15, with the same peaceful slogans as in July. The turnout is expected to be equal to or greater than the previous series of protests that shook the island in more than 40 locations. 

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