A daughter has launched a campaign to free her dad who was initially jailed for 25 years for taking a single video on his mobile phone of an anti-government protest march in Cuba.
Luis Frometa Compte, 59, has been in prison in Cuba since 2021 and although his sentence was later reduced to 15 years, his daughter Janie Frometa, 35, is keeping up the pressure and has put forward a petition supported by the German-Cuban community, together with Lars Rohwer (CDU), who is a member of the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament.
Janie, who submitted the petition on Tuesday, 25th October, is calling on the German government to put pressure on Cuba over its human rights record, as the country has over 1,800 political prisoners in its jails.
The petition needs 50,000 votes to be presented to the Bundestag, with Janie saying: “We need at least 50,000 people to support us. Every vote counts.”
Rohwer, 50, said: “The aim is for it to be accepted and sent to the federal government for consideration.”
He added: “This is not a criticism of the German government’s commitment to date, but is intended to lead the federal parliament to state the terrible human rights situation in Cuba.”
Luis Frometa Compte, who was born in Cuba but emigrated to East Germany before the collapse of communism, lived in Dresden since the 1980s. He was arrested after he filmed an anti-government protest.
He was jailed for 25 years before his sentence was reduced to 15 years.
He had been back in his homeland for just 40 days when he was swept up in a series of arrests over anti-government protests.
Frometa Compte has now spent over a year languishing in a tough, high-security prison in Havana.
He is reportedly being held in a 33-man cell crawling with rats and cockroaches while being fed a miserable diet of thin soup, rice and beans.
Frometa Compte had moved from Cuba to work in what was then East Germany in 1985 and he ended up staying in Dresden, where he started a family.
His daughter Janie, 35, told German media in July: “Luis reported that he was mistreated and tortured by being interrogated for hours while experiencing fever and being beaten until he could hardly see.
“The Cuban regime wants him to admit he is a leader of the protests. It’s all sick.”
His wife Silke, 55, said: “I have only seen my husband cry twice: when his mother died and now in prison.”
Frometa Compte is reported to suffer from violent tremors and often faints.
The Cuban authorities reportedly denied the German Federal Foreign Office consular access, as it regards dual nationals as exclusively Cuban.