Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cuba holding political prisoners, says Catholic Church

Cuba holding political prisoners, says Catholic Church
Wednesday, December 23, 2015 | 2:59 PM

HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) – The Catholic Church said Wednesday that Cuba is
holding political prisoners, openly contradicting the communist
government, with which it has been mending ties after years of hostility.

"Yes we do have cases of political prisoners, people serving long
sentences for whom I have requested a review -- and I won't tire of
doing it -- as the representative of the Church," said Jorge Serpa, the
bishop of the western province of Pinar del Rio, in an interview with a
Catholic magazine.

Cuba's government denies jailing political dissidents, but rights
activists on the island say it is holding at least 60 of them.

Attorney General Dario Delgado said earlier this month that the inmates
in question were common criminals who "call themselves dissidents."

Serpa, who heads the Church's prison pastoral commission in Cuba, said
there are "people who are serving 47, 40 years in prison."
He told the Havana archdiocese magazine, Palabra Nueva, he was in
contact with "seven 'orange inmates' who are serving life terms, and
some of them are political prisoners."

But, in a nod to the official line, he added that foreigners looking at
Cuba sometimes "confuse criminals with political prisoners."

Cuba's prisons do not have chapels. But about a decade ago the
authorities began allowing priests to visit with prisoners who request it.

Cuba was an atheist state for more than three decades under former
leader Fidel Castro, but has slowly opened up space for the Church to
operate since the early 1990s.

The Church played a key role in brokering the talks that led to the
historic announcement of a US-Cuban rapprochement last year after half a
century of Cold War animosity.

Source: Cuba holding political prisoners, says Catholic Church - News - -

No comments:

Post a Comment