What is Social Dangerousness?

Legal Definition
Social dangerousness or Pre-criminal danger to society is a legal charge under Cuban law which allows the authorities to detain people who they think are likely to commit crimes. The charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison. The Cuban government has been accused by Amnesty International of using the charge almost exclusively against critics of the government.

People that have been imprisoned under this charge include:

  • Raymundo Perdigon Brito sentenced to four years in prison on 5 December 2006.
  • José Oscar Sánchez Madan, sentenced to four years in prison
  • Guillermo Espinosa Rodríguez, sentenced to two years of house arrest

In 2008, the punk rock singer and dissident Gorki Águila was arrested by police on a charge of social dangerousness. He was eventually ordered to pay a $30 fine for the lesser offence of public disorder, after prosecutors dropped the charge of social dangerousness.

Cuban law defines dangerousness (el estado peligroso) as "the special proclivity of a person to commit crimes, demonstrated by conduct that is observed to be in manifest contradiction with the norms of socialist morality." ... If Cuba determines that someone is dangerous, the Criminal Code allows the state to impose "pre-criminal measures," including surveillance by the National Revolutionary Police and re-education for periods of one-to-four years. The state may detain the person during this time. The law also provides for "therapeutic measures," including detention in a psychiatric hospital, that are continued "until the dangerousness disappears from the subject." The open-ended nature of this punishment affords the state extraordinary authority to abuse the rights of political opponents and the developmentally disabled.
-- Wikipedia