In the First Month of Diaz-Canel’s Government There Were 132 Arbitrary Arrests

The Ladies in White during an act of repudiation against them at one of their protests. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 4 June 2018 — The Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), based in Madrid, counts 132 arbitrary detentions on the island in May, the first month of President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s presidency.

Those arrested for political reasons this month belonged mostly to the Ladies in White, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Youth Awakens, the Boitel Party and the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Action Front, as well as a group of independent journalists. Of those arrested, 64 were women and 68 men. So far, the total arrests in 2018 are 1,224, according to the organization.

The Observatory called the crime of “pre-criminal dangerousness” an “aberration” which has been used to condemn UNPACU activists to two and a half years in prison and is used to “prosecute dissidents who have not committed any crime.”

Among the most common reasons for which the government has made arrests, according to OCDH, are preventing attendance at Catholic masses, travel to other countries, uploading protest videos to social networks, demanding rights or participating in civic activities. “In the case of independent journalists, at least two were arrested for trying to cover the tragic plane crash that recently occurred in Havana,” the organization denounced.

The OCDH reports that a government opponent who is a member of the Citizen Reflection and Reconciliation Movement was punished by one year in prison for allegedly “defaming the heroes.”


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