Award-winning Cuban dissident detained
10:12 am | Saturday, August 25th, 2012
HAVANA – Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was arrested by
police after an argument with agents guarding his home, his mother and
activists said Friday.
Farinas, who has gone on hunger strike about two dozen times against the
regime, was arrested late Thursday in front of his home in the central
city of Santa Clara, his mother Alicia Hernandez told AFP.
"He went to talk to the patrol… and then they had an argument and took
him into custody," she said.
Elizardo Sanchez, head of the banned but tolerated Cuban Committee for
Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said Farinas wanted to speak
to the agents because "the laptop of one of the members of his
organization had apparently gone missing."
Farinas, 50, was last arrested on July 24 along with about 50 others at
the funeral of fellow activist Oswaldo Paya, who was killed in a car
Hernandez said she was "worried" for her son due the poor sanitary
conditions of police stations amid outbreaks of cholera and dengue on
the communist island.
Farinas won the Sakharov prize — the European parliament's top human
rights award — in 2010 after his 135-day hunger strike to press for the
release of political prisoners.
A former soldier and supporter of Fidel Castro's revolution, Farinas
distanced himself from the regime in 1989 when he opposed the execution
of general Arnaldo Ochoa, who was accused of drug trafficking.
Jose Daniel Ferrer, another dissident, was also arrested Thursday at his
home in the southwestern town of Palmarito, Sanchez said.
He noted that dissidents are usually arrested for several hours or
several days by the government of Raul Castro, who took over in 2006
from his ailing brother Fidel.
In July, 406 dissidents were arrested, according to Sanchez's group. All
opposition is illegal in Cuba and the communist government considers
dissidents to be "mercenaries" in the pay of its top foe, the United States.