The Cuban authorities are continuing to stifle freedom of expression on the island in spite of the much-publicised recent wave of releases of prominent dissidents, Amnesty International warned today on the eighth anniversary of a crackdown on activists.
Hundreds of pro-democracy activists have suffered harassment, intimidation and arbitrary arrest in recent weeks as the Cuban government employs new tactics to stamp out dissent.
Of 75 activists arrested in a crackdown around 18 March 2003, only three remain in jail after 50 releases since last June, with most of the freed activists currently exiled in Spain. Amnesty International has called for the remaining prisoners to be released immediately and unconditionally.
"The release of those detained in the 2003 crackdown is a hugely positive step but it tells only one side of the story facing Cuban human rights activists," said Gerardo Ducos, Cuba researcher at Amnesty International.
"Those living on the island are still being targeted for their work, especially through short-term detentions, while repressive laws give the Cuban authorities a free rein to punish anyone who criticises them.”