The Guardian (UK)
Wednesday July 6, 2005
HAVANA (AP) - Cuba’s communist government has jailed 13 more political opponents this year, most on charges of ``dangerousness,’’ a veteran rights activist reported Tuesday.
The report released Tuesday by the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and Reconciliation said the total number of political prisoners as of June 30 was 306.
The charges against those jailed highlight the government’s practice of making ambiguous accusations against its opponents, said Elizardo Sanchez, the activist who runs the non-governmental commission, which releases reports every six months.
The list includes most of the 75 dissidents arrested in a roundup on the opposition in March 2003, even though 14 of those were freed on parole last year.
Of those 14, two of them were taken off the list because they left Cuba after their release. Sanchez said the other 12 remained on the list because they could be returned to custody if they violate parole.
The 75 activists were arrested in March 2003 on charges of being mercenaries working with the U.S. government to undermine Cuban President Fidel Castro’s government, something the dissidents and American officials deny. Sentences ranged from six to 28 years.
Cuba says it holds no prisoners of conscience, only common criminals.
Among those on the commission’s list are two Central American men who were found guilty of terrorism for placing explosive devices in public places. The men received the death penalty but the sentences have not been carried out.