Number of Political Prisoners Doubles In Last Year, According To Human Rights Group

The human rights group counts at least 475 arbitrary detentions for political reasons in April (EFE archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 May 2017 – The number of political prisoners has doubled this year, according to the most recent report from the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), which counts 140 people charged for these reasons in April, compared to 70 for the same months in 2016.

The organization’s monthly accounting puts the number of arbitrary detentions for political reasons of at least 475, which includes 43 more detentions than in March.” In addition, there were also 11 physical assaults, 9 cases of harassment and 2 acts of repudiation against activists.

The organization most affected by politically motivated imprisonments is the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU), which has a majority presence in the eastern part of the country and to which 54 inmates belong.

The CCDHRN also denounces the situation of the “thousands and thousands of innocent people who languish in the nearly 200 prisons, labor camps and criminal settlements” of the island.

The organization, dedicated to the denunciation of human rights violations, reports that in the last year “political repression has had an evident mutation” and has become “more selective and less noisy.”

Raul Castro’s government has more often used “preventive repression in the form of police threats and other systematic intimidating actions,” the report points out.

“The prohibitions on travel within Cuba or abroad, home searches, arbitrary confiscations of possessions, means of work and money,” are among the most frequent practices in the work of State Security against the opposition.

“Espionage and defamatory campaigns, as well as the imposition of abusive and disproportionate fines,” complete these strategies of pressure.

The text of the CCDHRN devotes special attention to “the expulsion, for clearly political reasons” of Professor Dalila Rodríguez González and student Karla Pérez González from the Central University of Las Villas.

The CCDHRN figures exceed 467 arbitrary detentions during the month of April, documented by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), based in Spain.