Dissidents in Cuba
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December 2007
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Cuban police hit church hall to grab dissidents

Cuban police hit church hall to grab dissidents

December 06, 2007 Edition 4

Havana – Cuban security forces detained up to 15 dissidents after
storming into a church's parish hall in Santiago de Cuba to stop an
anti-government protest, according to the church's priest and a
dissident group.

The priest of Santa Teresita church, Jose Conrad, said at least five
people were detained during the crackdown on Tuesday, while a leading
dissident group said 15 were rounded up by police.

Twnty-five dissidents dressed in black had marched to the church on
Tuesday to protest over the arrest of another government opponent.

Security forces then detained 15 of them in the southeastern city, said
Elizardo Sanchez, president of the Cuban Human Rights and National
Reconciliation Commission.

"The repressors, headed by a lieutenant colonel and other state security
officers, desecrated the church of Santa Teresita after kicking one of
its doors open and savagely assaulting the peaceful dissidents," he said
in a statement.

Sanchez, whose organisation is outlawed but tolerated by the communist
regime, said the crackdown was an "extremely serious act of political
repression with practically no precedent".

The commission said it "hopes the government will conduct a serious
investigation and stop encouraging or allowing premeditated and
unnecessary acts of police brutality against citizens trying to exercise
their right to demonstrate".

Conrad said in a telephone interview that at least five dissidents were
detained in the parish hall, which is part of the church.

As the dissidents were rounded, Conrad said he told the police: "I want
you to explain to me what is going on here, because I don't understand
anything. How is this act of violence possible?"

Sanchez's organisation says there are about 250 political prisoners in Cuba.

The regime, however insists there are no political prisoners, only
mercenaries financed by the US and people who tried to disturb order or
commit acts of terrorism. – Sapa-AFP


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