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  HOME | Cuba

Dissident Group Says Cuba Holds 93 Political Prisoners

HAVANA – The dissident Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation said on Monday that there are currently 93 political prisoners on the island, and that 21 of them have been behind bars for between 13 and 24 years.

The latest release adds 22 names that were not on the list of June 2015, which it calls “another sign of the degenerating” political and human rights situation in Cuba.

The commission classifies these political prisoners in four groups, in one of which appear the names of 51 members of the peaceful opposition sentenced for their rebellious attitudes and activities.

Another group is made up of 27 political prisoners sentenced in State Security Courts for using firearms, force or violence, of whom, according to the dissident commission, seven arrived armed in three small expeditions from South Florida bent on overthrowing the government.

Also on the list are four opposition members sentenced for “other crimes against the state,” three of them former intelligence officers including Miguel Alvarez, who when arrested was the chief advisor of then-parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon.

The list released Monday also includes 11 former prisoners of conscience out of jail on probation.

The report calls it “very difficult” to draw up an “exhaustive” list of political prisoners on the island, where according to commission estimates, the total prison population numbers somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 inmates.

The commission also criticizes the Cuban government for rejecting the cooperation of the International Red Cross and of organizations and experts of the United Nations in the inspection and improvement of its penitentiary system, made up of some 200 facilities including prisons, forced labor fields and detention centers.

 

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