Thursday, January 27

The Cuban regime detains dissident and Sakharov Prize winner Guillermo Fariñas in a hospital

Correspondent in Havana



The Cuban opposition leader and European Parliament Sakharov Prize winner (2010), Guillermo ‘Coco’ Fariñas, was arrested this December 9 at his home in the city of Santa Clara, Villa Clara province. State Security officers together with nurses went to look for him “in an ambulance and took him away,” he denounced via Twitter. Haisa Fariñas, daughter of the General Coordinator of the United Antitotalitarian Forum (FANTU).

An hour later, the young woman reported that her father was being held, “against his will”, in the Pneumology ward of the ‘Arnaldo Milián Castro’ Hospital in the same city. “The reason: to oppose the Cuban regime.”

The NGO Prisoners Defenders warned that Fariñas had not even requested medical attention, and that his life was in danger “at the hands of that regime.”

The Cuban opponent has been the victim of constant arrests by Cuban repressive bodies. This is the second time in less than a month that he has been kidnapped, as there has not even been a court order; the previous time it happened less than 72 hours before the Civic March for Change, a call launched for November 15 by the Archipelago group.

The arbitrary arrest occurs on the day prior to the International Human Rights Day, a date that on the island constitutes, for several years, a pretext to crack down on activists: dozens are detained or besieged in their homes to prevent civil society initiatives to commemorate the date.

Unusual situation

The day before the arrest, ‘Coco’ Fariñas and Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, also a Sakharov laureate, sent a letter to David Sassoli, president of the EP, and to members of the EP, stating that they would consider requesting the withdrawal of the distinction in case of persisting neglect of civil society by the European Foreign Action Service (SEAE) while crimes against humanity are committed by the Cuban regime.

In the letter, they assured that, after five years of implementation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (ADPC) between the European Union and Cuba, he was being flagrantly violated by both parties. In the same way, they denounced the “unusual situation” of the Sakharov Prizes: lack of support, and the state neglect and contempt by the SEAE both to them and to Cuban civil society “while state violence is radicalized against all of us every time with more virulence. ‘

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