Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cuba detains 30, releases ex-hunger striker

Cuba detains 30, releases ex-hunger striker
17 September 2011 | 04:41 | FOCUS News Agency
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Havana. High-profile government opponent Guillermo Farinas said Friday
he had been released after Cuban authorities detained him along with 29
other dissidents planning a demonstration, AFP reported.
"I've just been released. The two security officers who brought me back
said the others would also be freed soon," Farinas told AFP by telephone
from his home in Santa Clara, 270 kilometers (170 miles) east of Havana.
Farinas, who has undertaken dozens of hunger strikes in recent years,
was detained Thursday in central Villa Clara province along with another
well-known former political prisoner, Angel Moya, and 28 others, said
the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN).
The group president, Elizardo Sanchez, told AFP that by late Friday
about half of the detained protesters had been released.
The activists had planned to protest in downtown Santa Clara to "demand
that the government respect civil rights agreements signed in 2008, the
end of the crackdown against opponents and the liberation of all
political prisoners," Farinas said.
In recent weeks, CCDHRN has denounced what it describes as a sustained
Cuban government effort to ramp-up a crackdown on pro-democracy activists.
Sanchez said the authorities are using "minimal political repression;
they are simply neutralizing initiatives, nothing more."
"The government is working hard to discredit us. They think that just
because we are denouncing this repression with no criminal convictions,
it will go unnoticed."
Cuban authorities have been releasing missives accusing the Ladies in
White, a group of wives and relatives of former political prisoners, and
other opponents of "causing disorder to justify aggression" against Cuba
and of being "encouraged and paid" by the United States.
Moya's wife Betra Soler, a leader of the Ladies in White, said she still
had no news about the possible release of her husband.
CCDHRN estimates that about 50 political prisoners remain in Cuba after
130 detainees were released between July 2010 and March 2011 in exchange
for exile in Spain. Moya is among 12 prisoners who stayed behind in Cuba.

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