Sunday, June 21, 2015

Human Rights Group Estimates At Least 71 Political Prisoners In Cuba

Human Rights Group Estimates At Least 71 Political Prisoners In Cuba /
EFE (14ymedio)
Posted on June 19, 2015

EFE (via 14ymedio), 19 June 2015 – The dissident group Cuban Commission
for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) estimates that
there are at least 71 people imprisoned on the Island for "political
reasons or through politically directed procedures," almost half the
number documented a year ago.

The organizations says that the total prison population in Cuba is
between 60,000 and 70,000 people, the highest number in Latin America on
a per capita basis, given the 11 million inhabitants of the country, and
they suggest there may be more imprisoned on political grounds.

The statement, signed by CCDHRN spokesperson Elizardo Sanchez,
acknowledged that the number of prisoners of conscience in Cuba has
decreased and is now far from the 15,000 of 50 years ago; but warns of
the risk that these data may change.

"The risk of increasing the number of such prisoners remains dormant
since the regime continues to criminalize the exercise of all civil and
political rights and other fundamental rights through an archaic Penal
Code which, in its origins, was a mere copy, quasi-plagiarized, of that
of the former Soviet Union," Sanchez said.

The organization denounces the fact that many political prisoners are in
jail under the legal concept of pre-criminal social dangerousness, an
"unlawful monstrosity" according to the CCDHRN, which indicates that the
people interned "are essentially innocent" and that the actions imputed
to them do not constitute crimes, but are based on a "simple police

This presumption by the authorities leads to "very summary trials, in
which there is no need for proof through oral or material evidence or
documentation of any other kind."

The CCDHRN also recalls the case of the eleven former prisoners of
conscience from the Group of 75 — imprisoned during the crackdown of the
Black Spring of 2003 – released on parole but prevented from leaving the

They also demand the release "on humanitarian grounds" of 21 prisoners
for "crimes against the state" carrying between 12 and 23 years in
prison in "extreme conditions."

The CCDHRN is the only organization in Cuba that undertakes a counting
of political prisoners in the country; although they admit that counting
an exhaustive list is very difficult because the Cuban government is
"closed and opaque" and only "a handful of senior officials know the
exact numbers."

The Government of Cuba considers the dissidents
"counter-revolutionaries" and "mercenaries."

Source: Human Rights Group Estimates At Least 71 Political Prisoners In
Cuba / EFE (14ymedio) | Translating Cuba -

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