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Sharp rise in Cuba detentions: Amnesty

2012-03-22 12:06

London - Human rights group Amnesty on Thursday accused Cuba of intensifying its programme of harassment against political dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and bloggers.

The group said in a report that there had been a sharp rise in the number of dissidents taken into short-term detention over the past 24 months.

Hopes for progress in Cuba have risen since president Raul Castro, brother of ailing long-time leader Fidel Castro, implemented gradual economic reforms after assuming permanent control in February 2008.

But Amnesty criticised the new regime for carrying out 2 784 incidents of human rights abuses between January and September 2011, mostly short-term detention of dissidents, citing figures from the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

According to the Routine Repression report, more than 65 independent journalists have been detained, most of them repeatedly, since March 2011.

"Tactics have changed but the repression in Cuba is as strong as ever," said Gerardo Ducos, Cuba researcher at Amnesty International.

"After the mass release of prisoners of conscience in 2011, we have seen authorities sharpening their strategy to silence dissent by harassing activists and journalists with short term detentions and public acts of repudiation."

Dissenters are usually held in police stations or detention centres for spells ranging from a few hours to several days, Amnesty claimed.