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  HOME | Cuba

Dissident Group Reports Cuba Still Has 207 Political Prisoners

HAVANA -- The dissident Cuban Commission on Human Rights reported that the island's communist regime continues to hold 207 political prisoners.

In a message addressed to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and released Monday in Havana, the commission said that 57 of the political detainees have been adopted by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience.

Commission head Elizardo Sanchez told Efe that "in this moment the tendency continues to diminish very slowly and gradually" the number of political prisoners in Cuba, recalling that the report issued by the organization last August spoke of 219 cases of people behind bars for political reasons.

"There is no increase in the number of political prisoners serving long sentences as there was previously, all that are now being reported are arrests lasting several hours," he said.

The commission also complained that the Cuban government "prepared and delivered more than 60 days ago" a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on the state of human rights in the country "without providing a wide-ranging consultation process involving all the relevant interested parties."

Havana plans to announce publicly this week the report that it must make, like all other countries, before the Human Rights Council.

Sanchez said that the preparation "behind closed doors" of that document "does not give it the necessary credibility" and accused the communist government of violating "all civil, political and economic rights," as well as certain social and cultural rights.

Separately, the dissident group Agenda for the Transition, led by Martha Beatriz Roque, denounced in a communique the arrest of 43 members of the opposition who tried last Sunday to stage a "march of silence" in a Havana park.

Roque told Efe that most of the demonstrators were freed after several hours of confinement, although she said there has been no word about what has happened to about 10 of them.

The Cuban government announced in December 2007 the signing of pacts on economic, social and cultural rights, and on civil and political rights, as an "expression" of the country's collaboration with the U.N. Human Rights Council, to which it belongs.

 

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