HAVANA – Cuban dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer has ended the hunger strike he launched to protest his arrest early this month, his wife told Efe on Friday.
Coinciding with the end of the fast, Cuban authorities formally charged the detainee with creating a public disturbance in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on April 2, when he was taken into custody along with other government opponents, Belkis Cantillo said.
Ferrer, the leader of the outlawed Patriotic Union of Cuba dissident group who had begun the hunger strike on Monday, received notification from the authorities of the “public disorder” charge.
Cantillo added that when she visited him at the detention facility he told her not to obtain an attorney for him.
Ferrer, among a group of 75 dissidents rounded up and sentenced to lengthy prison terms in a 2003 crackdown, was released a year ago on parole following a Spanish-supported dialogue between President Raul Castro’s government and Cuba’s Catholic hierarchy.
The dissident is one of 12 Group of 75 members who refused to travel to Spain as a condition of his release.
In recent months, the 41-year-old Ferrer had been briefly detained in Havana and the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, where he lives, but subsequently released on both occasions without charges.
Amnesty International had adopted all of the Group of 75 as prisoners of conscience and Havana came under international pressure to release them after one member, Orlando Zapata, died following a lengthy hunger strike in February 2010.
But the Castro regime says there are no political prisoners on the Communist-ruled island and does not acknowledge the existence of an authentic internal opposition, instead referring to these individuals as “mercenaries” at the service of the United States. EFE