Tuesday, July 6, 2010

333 in 2006, 167 now

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) has released its latest list of political prisoners, and the total is 167 – 34 fewer than six months ago, and 166 fewer than were listed in January 2006.

The Commission, led by human rights monitor Elizardo Sanchez, issues the list every six months. This link takes you to Sanchez’ statement, and if you scroll to the bottom there are additional links: to the list of the 167, and to a list of the 53 on Sanchez’ list that are considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. Here are stories from CNN and EFE. Spanish foreign minister Moratinos is in Spain, human rights is on his agenda (see BBC story), and Granma noted his visit this morning.

Separately, a story in La Jornada (“Expectation grows that Cuban government will free jailed opponents”) cites “reports from prisons, according to which medical examinations have been made and photographs taken of 30 to 40 dissidents, who were asked if, in the case that they were freed, they would think about emigrating, to which country and with which family members. These are unusual proceedings that take place when there are releases from jail, said Elizardo Sanchez,” who was credited with gathering the reports.

Highlights from Sanchez’ statement:

  • The reduced number of political prisoners reflects “a certain change in the forms of political repression,” from long-term jail sentences to intimidation through short-term detentions of opposition activists, of which 802 took place in the first half of the year.

  • This is termed a “low-intensity” form of political repression.

  • The “great majority” of those released during the past year either completed their sentences, or completed sentences that were reduced for good conduct.

  • “In spite of the dispiriting human rights picture,” the release of Ariel Sigler Amaya and the transfer of a dozen prisoners to jails near their homes and families “are positive acts, but limited and late in coming.”

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