HAVANA – The dissident Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, or CCDHRN, reported Wednesday that in May there were at least 641 politically-motivated arrests on the communist island, almost double the number registered the previous month and the highest monthly total in the past 10 months.
“The current and palpable uptrend in indiscriminate and often violent political repression against women and men who are only intending to exercise basic civil and political rights in a completely peaceful way continues to be alarming,” said the report on political repression put out each month by the CCDHRN.
The organization also said that, in May, 88 “peaceful opposition figures” were victims of physical attacks, vandalism, harassment and “acts of repudiation” attributable to the secret political police or State Security.
The organization noted that in April it had reported the “extrajudicial execution” of Yunieski Martinez, 30, in the central province of Matanzas, “shot in the back” by political police officer Miguel Angel Rioseco.
The group said that the trial for the death of Martinez was held on June 2 and Rioseco was sentenced to 13 years in prison, a sentence that remains subject to appeal by the victim’s relatives.
“The authorities have not offered any public information about this aggravated murder or about the trial,” said the dissident organization.
The CCDHRN, headed by Elizardo Sanchez, is the only group on the island that tallies and releases figures on these incidents in Cuba, where the government considers dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries” in the service of the United States.