Release of Cuba Political Prisoners Is Only a First Step | Freedom House

Release of Cuba Political Prisoners Is Only a First Step

Washington

 
Freedom House welcomes the Cuban government’s decision to release 52 political prisoners but urges the Castro regime to let all of the estimated 167 political prisoners in the country go free.
 
“This is a significant and encouraging first step, and we look forward to seeing these 52 prisoners actually released,” said Daniel Calingaert, deputy director of programs for Freedom House.  “But we’re concerned that these prisoners are being forced to leave Cuba as a condition of their release and, in this way, the Cuban government is trying to physically remove political opposition from the island.  The Cuban government should respect the right of its citizens to return home.”
 
According to published reports, five prisoners are set to be released but immediately sent into exile to Spain in a deal brokered with the Spanish government.  Another forty-seven will be freed over the upcoming months, although it is not known which countries have agreed to accept them. The Cuban Catholic Church, which has become increasingly vocal on human rights issues in Cuba, was also instrumental in the negotiations.
 
“Freedom House applauds the Cuban Catholic Church and the Spanish government for working for the release of these political prisoners,” continued Calingaert. “We encourage them and all governments around the world to continue pressing the Cuban government to release the remaining political prisoners who continue to suffer torture and abuse in Cuban prisons.”
 
Freedom House consistently ranks Cuba among the world’s worst regimes. Cuba is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Freedom of the Press 2010. The country also received the lowest ranking in Freedom on the Net, a study of internet freedom in 15 countries released in 2009.
 
For more information on Cuba, visit:

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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