Raul Garcia has served his sentence in full and has been held now for 17 months after its completion. At H. M. Prison Dodds, Mr. Garcia is treated exactly as any other convicted prisoner. No special concessions are given despite the fact that he is not serving a custodial sentence. There are no work assignments, school opportunities, or any recreation. And only one 15 minute phone call per week. There is no television, radio, magazines, newspapers or contact with the outside world. He is locked in a cell!
He, at this time has no country, this is the problem! The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is aware of Raul's case. They have visited him and are working on finding him a country but this could take up to three years. In the meantime, our goal is to have him free with some sort of temporary immigration status. If this is impossible at the moment, at least have him transferred to a halfway house or a detention area/center with some privileges.
Raul has vowed a hunger strike until his release/transfer or death. He has not eaten for 18 days. It is important that we have him freed or transferred as he has a heart issue. Additional medical issues have come up, which include high blood pressure and digestion problems. Mr. Garcia has stated that he will begin eating if he is transferred to a facility that can grant him some basic rights and privileges, i.e. art time, school, work, phone calls, visitation, proper care until he is eventually freed.
During his incarceration (16 years), Raul was not once involved in a situation which required disciplinary action. His behavior has been impeccable. He has learned to paint and was considered one of the best artists in the prison. In addition, he has read extensively and is now well versed in subjects such as psychology, biology, history and medicine. Raul has spent many years counseling and advising fellow inmates about the negative consequences of using and trading drugs. He has helped many inmates to better themselves which in turn has kept them from reentering the prison system after release. He is without a doubt a rehabilitated man who has served his time.
The Government of Barbados must take a humanitarian stance concerning this matter and see to it that Raul Garcia is released from prison.
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