Political

Ill-treatment, torture, death: Amnesty’s verdict on how Fidel Castro treated opponents

This following is taken from the Amnesty International¬†Report for 1998 (reporting on the events of 1997). I’ve chosen this year partly as it’s one of the semi-random selection of years from which I have the reports on my shelf and also because it is well after the end of the Cold War, stripping away many of the excuses rolled out earlier in Castro’s reign:

Hundreds of political prisoners detained in previous years and convicted after unfair trials remain imprisoned. Many were prisoners of conscience. Scores of dissidents suffered short-term detention and harassment and several were forced into exile. There were frequent reports of ill-treatment, in some cases amounting to torture, resulting in at least one death. Prison conditions sometimes constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. At least five unarmed civilians were shot dead by law enforcement officials in disputed circumstances…

Scores of members of unofficial groups working in the field of civil and political rights, and journalists working for independent press agencies, were detained for short periods. A few were held for several months, sometimes without access to a lawyer…

Many were also subjected to other forms of intimidation, including organised¬†actos de repuido, acts of repudiation, during which they were verbally abused and sometimes physically assaulted by government supporters…

There were frequent reports of beating by police at time of arrest and by prison guards in detention centres…

[In prisons] there were reports that medical attention and food were often deliberately withheld as a punishment.

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