Cuba: Prisoners

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience currently held in custody in Cuba.

Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The Cuban Government retains tight control over information about their prisons. It is therefore difficult to put an exact figure on the number of political prisoners. Four prisoners of conscience were conditionally released during 2007 and subsequently exiled to Spain. However, Amnesty International consider, in their latest 2008 report, that there are at least 62 prisoners of conscience currently in Cuba.

In January 2008 the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an unofficial source of human rights information inside Cuba, counted 234 cases of political prisoners. In the Commission's August report, it notes an overall decline in numbers of political prisoners but an increase in temporary detentions and harassment against dissidents. This is consistent with reporting we have received from our embassy in Havana.

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