Tags: Violations | Human | Rights | Continue | Cuba

Violations of Human Rights Continue in Cuba

Tuesday, 21 May 2002 12:00 AM

In a report released Monday, the worldwide human rights organization said dissidents are still highly targeted because of their stands against Castro's policies.

Amnesty International said that despite the release earlier this month of Vladimiro Roca, there are six "prisoners of conscience" in Cuba, imprisoned solely for the non-violent expression of their beliefs.

Roca was sent to prison five years ago for publishing a pamphlet that urged the Cuban government to allow multi-party elections.

His prison term was supposed to end in July, but Roca said he was released early for good behavior. Some observers, however, think Castro may have released him to satisfy one human rights concern ahead of former President Jimmy Carter's visit last week.

Roca is the son of the late Blas Roca, who belonged to Cuba's communist-controlled labor movement before joining the opposition in the early 1990s.

"Although the numbers of prisoners of conscience has decreased significantly from past years, dissidents are still being targeted both by state officials and government supporters," Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International said it continued to note a shift from long-term imprisonment to other forms of punishment, including short-term detentions, interrogations, official warnings, threats, intimidation, eviction, loss of employment, restrictions on travel, house arrests, telephone bugging, and physical and verbal acts of abuse.

"This harassment is used not just against specific individuals known for their dissident activities but to suppress larger protests and pro-change movements," they said.

Amnesty International found that the Castro government had declared an unofficial moratorium on executions. But it said legislation allowing the use of the death penalty remained in place, and some 50 people are still on death row. Many death-row prisoners have been subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the report said.

"It is high time the government of Cuba stopped stifling non-violent dissent," Amnesty International said.

The human rights group called on the Castro government to release all "prisoners of conscience" and cease harassment of political dissidents and human rights activists.

It also urged the government to commute all death sentences to prison terms.

There was no official reaction from the Castro government.

The report came on the same day

The Cuban American National Foundation, an anti-Castro exile group, praised Bush's statements and said he sent a message of hope and solidarity to the people of Cuba.

"President Bush has reiterated his unwavering support for the Cuban people and their struggle for freedom, aligning U.S. foreign policy more closely than ever before with the efforts of Cuba's democracy activists," said CANF Chairman, Jorge Mas Santos.

"The president's initiative is a powerful restatement of America's commitment to help hasten the day when Cubans may once again enjoy freedom and self-determination," Mas Santos said.

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In a report released Monday, the worldwide human rights organization said dissidents are still highly targeted because of their stands against Castro's policies. Amnesty International said that despite the release earlier this month of Vladimiro Roca, there are six ...
Violations,Human,Rights,Continue,Cuba
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2002-00-21
Tuesday, 21 May 2002 12:00 AM
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