Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Long-serving Cuban political prisoner freed 2 years short of 15-year sentence

Long-serving Cuban political prisoner freed 2 years short of 15-year sentence

A prominent Cuban government opponent imprisoned for allegedly revealing state secrets was suddenly freed Friday, two years shy of completing his 15-year sentence, a fellow human rights activist said.
Francisco Chaviano, now 54, was released on parole after serving 13 years, three months and three days, said Elizardo Sanchez of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.
"He was among the longest-held prisoners of conscience in the world," Sanchez wrote in a statement.
Chaviano was president of the Cuban National Council for Civil Rights when he was arrested in May 1994. He was sentenced behind closed doors by a military court about a year later for allegedly revealing state secrets while documenting the cases of rafters who disappeared or died trying to leave Cuba. Chaviano denied revealing state secrets, and his supporters said no defense evidence was presented during the trial.
As Chaviano's release was being announced, a group of other top dissidents told international journalists at the Havana residence of U.S. Interests Section head Michael Parmly that repression continues for critics of the communist government, even though the number of political prisoners has dipped in recent years.
Sanchez's commission has reported that the number of political prisoners had dropped by more than 20 percent in the year since Raul Castro took power from his ailing elder brother Fidel.
The commission said 246 political prisoners were being held as of June 30, compared with 283 at the beginning of 2007 and 316 a year ago.
At Parmly's residence, former political prisoner Martha Beatriz Roque said the statistics do not provide a full picture, and that government harassment of critics continues unabated.
"There is a general tendency to confuse partial statistics showing a drop in the number of political prisoners with an improvement in the human rights situation," Roque said.
Cuban officials dismiss dissidents as "mercenaries" for the U.S., charges Roque and others deny.


Updated : 2021-10-27 21:43 GMT+08:00