Havana harassing hunger striker's mother - dissidents

19th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two more political prisoners from Cuba arrived in Spain on Thursday, where they accused the island's communist government of harassing the mother of a dissident who died in a hunger strike.

The two -- Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, 44, and Fabio Prieto Llorente, 47, both journalists -- arrived on separate flights accompanied by a total of 16 relatives, an AFP photographer at the airport said.

Twenty Cuban dissidents arrived in Spain last month and three more on Tuesday following their release by Havana.

One more, 61-year-old journalist Juan Adolfo Fernandez, is expected on Friday.

In a deal struck between the Roman Catholic Church and the government of President Raul Castro that was brokered by Spain, Cuba agreed to free 52 of 75 dissidents sentenced in 2003 to prison terms of up to 28 years.

The releases came after dissident hunger striker Guillermo Farinas nearly starved to death in Cuba.

Another political prisoner, Orlando Zapata, died in detention on February 23 after 85 days on hunger strike.

Herrera and Acosta charged Castro's regime had been harassing Zapata's mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, since his death.

"They won't allow her to walk to church ... to pray for her son," Herrera said.

"That's why we call on the world, the European Union, and the community of democratic nations to speak out against this outrage, this barbarism."

Tamayo told Spain's Europa Press news agency she had only been able to visit her son's grave four times as security services had prevented her "by force" from leaving her home.

Both the journalists also accused Havana of using the release of dissidents to hide the repression of its opponents.

"No one should hope that the Castros are going to make changes," said Herrera.

"The regime will remain the same, corrupt and military," added Prieto.

He said the release of dissidents was merely aimed "easing international pressure" on the regime.

Cuban dissidents say that even after the release of the 52, another 115 political prisoners will still be languishing behind bars in Cuba.

© 2010 AFP

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