Dissident Group Denounces At Least 9,940 Arbitrary Arrests In Cuba In 2016 / EFE,14ymedio

A member of the opposition movement Ladies in White is arrested during a demonstration on International Human Rights Day in December 2015. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 5 January 2017 — The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), a dissident group, denounced today that it had documented at least 9,940 arbitrary arrests for “political reasons” in 2016, the highest figure of the last six years.

With a monthly average of 827 arrests, the opposition organization said that Cuba is in “first place” in Latin America for this type of “repressive action.”

In its monthly report, the CCDHRN reports that in December there were 458 arbitrary arrests of “peaceful dissidents,” up from 359 in the previous month, but a much lower figure than in other months of last year; data from January to April showed more than 1,000 arrests a month.

According to this organization, in December there were also 14 physical assaults by political repression groups against peaceful opponents, 37 acts of harassment and intimidation, and two acts of repudiation, “true civil lynchings without the loss of human lives until now.”

The CCDHRN documented, in December, 14 physical attacks by the political repression groups against peaceful opponents

The commission notes that the opposition groups most punished by this harassment are the Ladies in White, who march every Sunday to demand respect for human rights on the island, and the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU), which has suffered “vandalism and robbery by the police” at its headquarters in Santiago de Cuba and at the homes of some of its activists.

The CCDHRN also expressed concern over the situation of two political prisoners imprisoned since November: Eduado Cardet, coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, and Danilo Maldonado, the graffiti artist known as “El Sexto,” who is considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

“El Sexto” has been detained since the early hours of November 26 for painting “He’s gone” in a central place in Havana on the occasion of the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. He is being held in a maximum security prison without trial.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, led by the well-known dissident Elizardo Sánchez, is the only group to record and report the numbers of these incidents in Cuba.

The Cuban government considers dissidents “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries.”