Friday, September 24, 2010

Freed dissidents who stay in Cuba may be put under parole

Posted on Friday, 09.24.10
Freed dissidents who stay in Cuba may be put under parole
Political prisoners who stay in Cuba after they are freed will be put
under an uncertain parole, according to new media reports.

Cuban dissidents accused the government of deception Thursday amid
reports that political prisoners who refuse to go into exile after they
are freed will be put under a vague and risky kind of parole.

``We want heir unconditional release because they are prisoners of
conscience and innocent,'' human rights activist Elizardo Sánchez said.
``This shows the bad faith with which the government has been acting.''


``It's one more trick by the government, because they can return those
men to prison at any time,'' said Bertha Soler, whose husband Angel
Moya, serving a 20-year sentence, has vowed to stay in Cuba.

The reports also reinforced complaints that Havana wants to exile the 52
jailed dissidents it has promised to free. Cuba so far has released 32,
who agreed to go directly from prison to Madrid.

Another 10 have said they will stay in Cuba if freed under the deal
announced in July by the Catholic church after talks with Cuban ruler
Raúl Castro and Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega has said the prisoners would be free to stay or go
to Spain, but until now there had been no word on any conditions for
those who stay. A spokesman for Ortega could not be reached for comment
on this story.

Spain's El País and ABC newspapers reported the parole conditions,
quoting Spanish foreign ministry sources following a meeting Wednesday
between Moratinos and his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodríguez.

Those who refuse to go to Spain will be the last to be freed, the
newspapers reported, under ``extrapenal licenses'' -- paroles -- that
will keep them ``subject to the process against them.''


Sánchez said Havana's decision to hold those who want to stay in Cuba
until the end shows it is putting psychological pressures on dissidents
and relatives to opt for leaving the island.

The 52 promised their release were the last still in prison of 75
dissidents rounded up during a massive crackdown in 2003 known as Cuba's
Black Spring. Two dozen were granted parole over the years because of
ill health, and eight still live in Cuba. One of the eight, dissident
economist Martha Beatriz Roque, said the ``extrapenal licenses'' are so
ill-defined that they amount to ``legal limbo'' and ``a sword of
Damocles hanging over our heads.'' Roque, who was sentenced to 20 years,
said that when she was freed in 2004 authorities did not impose any
restrictions on her opposition activities and only told her that her
civil rights, such as the right to vote, remained suspended.

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