December 8, 2006

Government critics still being jailed

Amnesty International said there are currently 72 prisoners of conscience in Cuba, 60 of whom are from the March 2003 crackdown and although during 2004 and 2005 22 prisoners of conscience were conditionally released, mainly for medical reasons, imprisonment of government critics continued.

The organisation says that most prisoners of conscience in Cuba are imprisoned because of their attempts to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.{{more}}

“Trial procedures in political cases in Cuba, as well as in capital cases, usually fall far short of international standards for a fair trial, particularly with regard to the right to defence counsel. Convictions are often based on ‘confessions’ obtained under duress while the detainee is held, sometimes for several months, in pre-trial detention without access to a lawyer,” it stated in a March 2006 report.