INTIMIDATION AND HARASSMENT OF DISSIDENTS ON THE INCREASE

In its report, 'Short term detention and harassment of

dissidents,' Amnesty International details these and

other punitive measures against the exercise of

fundamental freedoms, including orchestrated acts of

intimidation, loss of employment, travel restrictions,

interrogations, house arrests, house searches and even

telephone bugging.

Physician Doctor Oscar ElÃas Biscet Gonz…lez was among

some 260 dissidents detained around the time of the

Ibero-American Summit in Havana last year. He has

reportedly been detained over two dozen times since

1998. Most recently he was charged with 'insult to the

symbols of the homeland' for hanging the Cuban flag

sideways in his home. For this and two similar

offences he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment

on 25 February this year.

In December 1999 Nestor RodrÃguez Lobaina was reportedly

detained in the early hours by State Security agents in

Santiago de Cuba and taken to a mountainous area where

the agents held their guns as if to shoot him, shouting

'Get down, we're going to do away with you.' He was

then abandoned in a remote area and told not to return

to Santiago.

Mark Lattimer, Director of Communications of Amnesty

International UK, said:

'The Cuban Government clearly believes that the

repression of peaceful dissent through systematic

intimidation and harassment will be seen as more

acceptable to the international community than

long-term imprisonment. We urge the UK Government to

tell Cuba that any suppression of the freedom of

expression and assembly is unacceptable.'

Amnesty International is calling on the Cuban

Government to guarantee all Cuban citizens - including

journalists, human rights defenders and political

activists - full freedom of expression, association

and assembly, and to immediately release all prisoners

of conscience.

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