- Arrest - Cuba - political prisoners
Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas arrested
Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, the 2010 Sakharov rights prize winner, has been arrested along with other opposition leaders for trying to prevent Cuban authorities from evicting a woman who did not have proper authorization, his mother has said.
AP - Guillermo Farinas, a Cuban dissident who gained international renown after staging a long hunger strike last year, was detained Wednesday while trying to block the eviction of a woman from a home in the central city of Santa Clara, his mother said.
Farinas and other opposition leaders were taken into custody as they tried to prevent authorities from carrying out the eviction orders, his mother Alicia Hernandez told The Associated Press. The woman was apparently living in the home without proper authorization.
“He was arrested by the police, along with a group of people,” Hernandez said.
An independent Cuban human rights leader, Elizardo Sanchez, said more than 12 people were detained in the roundup.
Opposition figures are frequently detained by authorities, often to be released within hours or a few days.
Hernandez said she had not been able to speak to her son by phone, but had sent him a coat and some medicine through a relative. She said she had no idea when he or the others would be released.
There was no immediate reaction or confirmation from the Cuban government. Authorities rarely comment on the dissidents, except to say that they consider all to be common criminals and mercenaries paid by Washington to make trouble.
Farinas, 49, staged a 134-day hunger strike last year to draw attention to the plight of activists, social critics and opposition leaders in Cuban jails. He was awarded the European Parliament’s annual human rights prize, but Cuban authorities refused to grant him permission to travel to Strasbourg, France, to receive the award.
Farinas has held more than 20 hunger strikes in the past 15 years, and has been jailed repeatedly for dissident activities on charges including disrespecting authority, public disorder and assault against a suspected undercover government informant.
Cuba is in the midst of releasing many of the 52 jailed dissidents whose cause Farinas championed, following a deal with the Roman Catholic Church. Just 11 remain behind bars, and church officials say they are optimistic the government will soon make good on a promise to release them.