Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sharp rise in harassment and attacks against activists and journalists in Cuba

22 March 2012

Sharp rise in harassment and attacks against activists and journalists
in Cuba

"Tactics have changed, but the repression in Cuba is as strong as ever."
Gerardo Ducos, Cuba researcher at Amnesty International
Thu, 22/03/2012

Harassment and detention of political dissidents, human rights
activists, journalists and bloggers across Cuba has risen sharply over
the past 24 months, Amnesty International said in a new report published

The report Routine repression: Political short-term detentions and
harassment in Cuba reveals new tactics by the Cuban authorities to
punish individuals seen as opposed to the regime.

According to the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National
Reconciliation, there were 2,784 incidents of human rights abuses
between January and September 2011, mostly short-term detention of
dissidents - that's 710 more than in the whole of 2010.

Since March 2011, more than 65 independent journalists were detained,
most of them repeatedly.

"Tactics have changed, but the repression in Cuba is as strong as ever,"
said Gerardo Ducos, Cuba researcher at Amnesty International.

"After the mass release of prisoners of conscience in 2011, we have seen
authorities sharpening their strategy to silence dissent by harassing
activists and journalists with short-term detentions and public acts of

Authorities in Cuba do not tolerate any criticism of state policies
outside the official mechanisms established under government control.
Laws on "public disorder", "contempt", "disrespect", "dangerousness" and
"aggression", are used to prosecute government opponents. No political
or human rights organizations are allowed to obtain legal status.

Human rights activists or independent journalists detained are usually
held for periods ranging from a few hours to several days in police
stations or detention centres, during which time they are frequently
subjected to interrogations, intimidation, threats and, occasionally,

In many cases, authorities fail to inform their relatives of the reasons
or the place of detention of their loved ones.

Human rights activists Antonio Michel and Marcos Máiquel Lima Cruz have
been imprisoned since 25 December 2010, when they were arrested by
officials from the Department of State Security in their home town
Holguín in eastern Cuba after signing songs criticizing the lack of
freedom of expression in the country.

Following a summary trial in May 2011, the brothers were sentenced to
two and three years imprisonment respectively for "insulting symbols of
the homeland" and "public disorder".

Antonio Michel is suffering from prostate problems and is reportedly not
receiving adequate medical treatment. He is also eligible for
conditional release having served more than half of his sentence, but
the authorities have refused to respond to petitions from his family and

Amnesty International has adopted them as "prisoners of conscience" and
called on the authorities for their immediate and unconditional release.
Human rights activists Yasmín Conyedo Riverón and her husband Yusmani
Rafael Álvarez Esmori, in detention since 8 January 2012 on trumped up
charges of using "violence or intimidation" against a state official,
have also been named "prisoners of conscience".

Journalist José Alberto Álvarez Bravo, from Havana, was detained 15
times between April and October 2011 – an average of twice a month. On
12 July, State Security officials detained him at his house and
confiscated his computer, USB flash drives, a digital camera, books and
documents. He remained in detention for more than 72 hours.

"Cuba has seen worsening repression when it comes to human rights. What
we want to see happening is for activists to be able to carry out their
legitimate work without the fear of reprisals," said Gerardo Ducos.

No comments:

Post a Comment