Human rights activists in Cuba say a riot has taken place in one of the country’s biggest prisons.
Sunday, April 10 2005 @ 03:18 PM PDT
Contributed by: Collin Sick
The government has not commented on the reports, but less than three weeks ago admitted to a “minor incident” in the same jail.
The riot at the Combinado del Este prison just outside Havana is believed to have taken place on Tuesday night.
It seems a group of prisoners were protesting at conditions in the jail and at some stage a fire broke out.
Prominent human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez says several prisoners are now seriously ill with burns injuries or the effects of inhaling fumes.
None of Cuba’s imprisoned dissidents are believed to have been involved in the disturbance.
In the incident three weeks ago, there were rumours that five prisoners had been killed during a riot at the jail.
Cuba’s foreign minister said no-one had been killed or seriously injured and that not a shot had been fired by prison guards.
Per capita, Cuba has one of the highest prison populations in the world. Dissidents have described conditions as “sub-human”.
Since 1989, the Cuban government has not allowed the International Red Cross to inspect its prisons.
By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Havana