World Medical Association congratulates Dr. Biscet on his Award

The World Medical Association has congratulated Dr. Oscar Biscet on his award today from President Bush of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his advocacy efforts for human rights and democracy in Cuba.

Dr. Biscet is serving a twenty-five year prison sentence in Cuba for allegedly committing crimes against the sovereignty and the integrity of the Cuban territory. He was sentenced in 2003, in a crackdown on human rights activists across the island.

Dr. Otmar Kloiber, secretary general of the WMA, said: 'Dr. Biscet is a physician and a noted advocate for human rights and democratic freedoms in Cuba, his native country. Despite appeals from the United Nations, foreign governments, and international human rights organizations, Cuba has refused to release him. Amnesty International and other organizations consider Dr. Biscet, who also heads the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, a prisoner of conscience.

'He represents the highest ideals of medical ethics and human rights among physicians and we congratulate him on his award.'

Dr. Biscet was first arrested in 1999 and imprisoned for three years on charges of 'disrespecting patriotic symbols', including hanging a Cuban flag upside down during a news conference. He was then arrested again in 2002 and was one of the 75 dissidents imprisoned in 2003 by the Cuban authorities. He was given a 25 year sentence for 'disorderly conduct' and 'counter-revolutionary activities'.