Number of political prisoners in Cuba increased five-fold last year
The number of political prisoners in Communist Cuba, which stood at about 134 last December, increased to at least 805 by the end of November, a new report by a rights organisation shows.
“These are a small fraction of the real figures,” says the Madrid-based watchdog group Prisoners Defenders, noting that it’s not possible to verify all cases of political imprisonment and therefore the actual number is likely to be much higher.
At least 23 of the political prisoners were minors at the time of their detention and are “being criminally prosecuted with numerous years’ imprisonment requested for most of them,” the report reveals, adding that the average age of the imprisoned protesters is 34, although Cuba is “one of the most ageing countries in the world.”
The majority of the prisoners are “convicts of conscience,” the report adds, explaining that they are “prisoners deprived of their liberty solely for reasons of conscience, i.e. the strict exercise of their most fundamental human rights, on charges that are either completely and demonstrably false and fabricated, or of a non-criminal nature and absolutely related to thought.”
Many others have been “condemned of conscience, who suffer prosecutor’s orders or judicial sentences” of forced labour at home, limited freedom, probation under threat and other limitations to their freedoms.
Some are “other political prisoners,” whose cases are concerning violence or other punishable offences in addition to their political imprisonment.