Posted on Tuesday, 01.19.10
Group: Cuban political prisoners drop by 5 to 201
The Associated Press
HAVANA — The number of political prisoners behind bars in Cuba fell by
five to 201 in the past six months, an island human rights group said
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation said
Havana's communist government has increasingly used a strategy of quick
arrests and releases to punish anti-government activists, contributing
to a decline in the number jailed at any given moment.
The figure dropped sharply during the first two years of the Raul Castro
government, falling from 316 in July 2006 when he took power from his
older brother Fidel. But the commission said that decline has leveled
"Unless a miracle occurs, the situation of political, civil and economic
rights in Cuba throughout 2010 will stay the same or get worse," said
Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Havana-based commission.
Sanchez's group recorded 869 brief detentions of opposition leaders and
dissidents in the last six months. Some were arrested and released more
than once – especially when police and state security agents rounded up
activists to keep them from attending protests and other activities.
Fidel Castro said he held 15,000 political prisoners in 1964.
Cuban officials now say they do not imprison anyone for their political
beliefs and dismiss opposition activists as "mercenaries" taking money
from U.S. authorities to destabilize the government.
Cuba does not comment on the commission's reports, which are used by
groups such as Amnesty International.
Group: Cuban political prisoners drop by 5 to 201 – Florida AP –
MiamiHerald.com (19 January 2010)