June 16, 1999
Published Wednesday, June 16, 1999, in the Miami Herald
London, Jun 16 --(EFE)-- The Cuban government regularly jails and tortures dissidents and continues using capital punishment as tool of repression.
These are some of the highlights of Amnesty International's (AI) annual report, released Wednesday in London, on Cuba's human rights situation over the last year.
According to AI, Castro's regime has jailed some 300 dissidents since Pope John Paul II's visit to the island in January 1998, and holds an additional 350 in prison, 100 of which consider themselves political prisoners.
The report states that political repression continued on the island even after the pope's visit, although to a lesser degree.
Most political prisoners were sentenced for crimes against the security of the state in court proceedings that did not meet the minimum legal requirements, and members of dissident organizations and the independent media were regularly arrested.
Many political prisoners were charged with crimes such as ``spreading enemy propaganda'' and ``disseminating false news against international peace,'' accusations commonly used against critics of the Castro regime.
Detained dissidents were deprived of legal counsel, held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time and were psychologically and physically tortured.
AI also criticizes the degrading and inhumane conditions found in Cuban prisons, noting the high level of disease, inadequate medical care and food, and a lack of running water.
During the last year, 10 people were shot and killed by police in an unjustified manner, and five others were executed after receiving the death sentence.
Copyright 1999 Miami Herald
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