HAVANA – Prominent Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas was released without charges several hours after his “violent” arrest in the central city of Santa Clara, his family and colleagues said Monday.
Fariñas was headed for church on Sunday together with a group of 10 opposition members when “three (police) patrol cars blocked their way and the cops began to push and shove them inside,” Ramon Jimenez, spokesman for the dissident group United Anti-Totalitarian Forum, told Efe.
“The police were violent with them and Guillermo was treated worst of all,” Jimenez said.
Fariñas’ mother Alicia Hernandez confirmed Monday the account of her son’s detention and said that, after returning home around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, he had to go to the doctor “because he was in a lot of pain.”
The 49-year-old psychologist and independent journalist went on a hunger strike last year for more than four months following the death of opposition prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, to demand the release of political prisoners suffering severe illnesses.
Guillermo Fariñas, recipient of the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for the defense of human rights, was arrested briefly on several occasions this year, the last time in mid-September during a wave of detentions of dissidents in Santa Clara and other towns in central Cuba.
According to the opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, the Communist government has intensified the “interior repression” against dissidence over the last month, and estimates that 380 people were arrested for political reasons in December. EFE