Friday, February 25, 2011

Cuba releases ex-hunger striker Farinas

Cuba releases ex-hunger striker Farinas

Police released dissident and former hunger striker Guillermo Farinas on
Thursday after a 27-hour detention for shouting anti-government slogans
from his rooftop.
Farinas, the 2010 Sakharov rights prize winner, has been detained by
police and released several times this year by the Americas' only
one-party communist regime.
He climbed on to his rooftop on Wednesday, the anniversary of the death
of political prisoner Orlando Zapata after an 11-week fast to protest
prison conditions.
"I was released around 7pm (0000 GMT yesterday), I just got home,"
Farinas said from the city of Santa Clara, 280km east of Havana.
"I believe that the best tribute we can give to Zapata was for the
government was forced to mobilize its repressers," Farinas said.
Zapata, a 42-year-old construction worker, died on February 23, 2010 in
a Havana hospital from complications resulting from his hunger strike.
His death has helped rally the opposition.
He had been jailed since 2003, along with dozens of other Cubans
demanding greater freedoms. His death drew international outrage.
Exactly one year ago, Farinas began a 135-day hunger strike demanding
the release of all political prisoners. The hunger strike ended only
after President Raul Castro authorized the release of 52 political
prisoners in a deal negotiated by the Roman Catholic Church.
After Farinas's latest arrest, a bus stopped outside his home and some
40 people got out and spent more than an hour chanting pro-government
At least 183 people were detained in connection to events linked to the
Zapata anniversary, according to the banned but tolerated Cuban Human
Rights Commission. Most of those people have been released but 65 are
still being held, according to the group.
The government considers Farinas and other dissidents, such as the
Ladies in White - a rights group of female relatives of political
dissidents - "mercenaries" on Washington's payroll.

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