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Cuban dissident held for second time

Cuban dissident held for second time

Cuban authorities have detained a well-known dissident for a second time in as many days, this time holding him overnight with no word on the reason, his mother said Friday.
Guillermo Farinas was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in the central city of Santa Clara along with about 15 other people, and was still being held early Friday, Alicia Hernandez told The Associated Press. She said she did not know why he was detained for a second time.
"He was in the street when a patrol picked him up and I was told later that he had been detained," said Hernandez. "That's all I know."
Hernandez said her son was detained near the home of another local opposition figure named Idania Yanez Contreras.
Farinas, who gained fame while staging a 134-day hunger strike last year, was first picked up on Wednesday afternoon while he and more than 20 other people tried to prevent a woman from being evicted from a home. He was released five hours later with a warning to stay out of trouble, only to be detained again the next day.
Opposition figures are frequently detained by authorities, often to be released within hours or a few days, but the repeated arrests of Farinas were unusual.
The 49-year-old dissident has largely stayed out of the spotlight since December, when he received the European Parliament's annual human rights prize. Cuban authorities refused to grant him permission to travel to Strasbourg, France, to pick up the award, a decision he said at the time was "irrefutable testimony to the fact that unfortunately nothing has changed" in Cuba regarding human rights.
The government considers Farinas _ and the island's other dissidents _ to be common criminals paid for by Washington. Authorities frequently note that some of his legal troubles include an assault on a co-worker and other violent behavior. Farinas says all the charges are linked to his activism.
Cuba is in the midst of releasing many of the 52 jailed dissidents whose cause Farinas championed during the hunger strike, 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.
Still, there has been little word on the men's fate since the passing of a November deadline by which all were supposed to be out. The last 11 dissidents have refused to accept exile in Spain, as most of the others did, the apparent reason for the delay in releasing them.
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Associated Press reporter Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-16 13:59 GMT+08:00