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Cuban dissident steps up pressure for release of political prisoners

.- The leader of the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba, Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, has issued a statement demanding improved prison conditions in that country and the immediate release of political prisoners.

In his letter, Paya denounced “the inhumane conditions of confinement, the lack of medical assistance, and the physical and verbal abuse” of which political prisoners are victims.

The statement makes specific mention of Juan Carlos Herrera, one of 75 dissidents sentenced to 28 years in prison and who suffers from serious health problems, “which have been aggravated by the cruel conditions since he was unjustly imprisoned in March of 2003.”

Prisoners, be they “political or common,” Paya noted, “are also, above all, human beings,” and thus their “dignity and rights deserved to be treated with respect.”  The dissident group also called on the international community to “raise its voice in solidarity with the Cuban political prisoners.”

Paya also enjoined all Cubans not to be “indifferent in the face of this situation of systematic mistreatment” of these “peaceful prisoners, whose only crimes have been defending the rights of Cubans and offering peaceful solutions for the problems and malice that are afflicting the Cuban society.”

Lastly, the group expressed its solidarity with Juan Carlos Herrera in “his demands for medical assistance, dignified prison conditions and just and humane treatment.” It also called for “the immediate release of all peaceful political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.”

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