Surprise: Repression yo-yo furiously at work in Castrolandia
Leading Dissident José Daniel Ferrer arrested again today
23 August 2012 | 23:45 | FOCUS News AgencyHavana.Cuban police on Thursday arrested Jose Daniel Ferrer, a leading opponent of the country's Communist regime and former political prisoner, an activist told AFP.Ferrer was arrested at his home at 6:00 am (1000 GMT) "at a time that his family was still sleeping," said Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the illegal but tolerated Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission.Sanchez said that police also confiscated "his work equipment, documents and other belongings."Ferrer lives in the town of Palmarito, near Santiago de Cuba, some 900 kilometers (560 miles) southeast of Havana.Sanchez called for "urgent action to demand the release of this peaceful and respected Cuban opposition figure, whose home has been raided at least once in the past few months."The 41-year-old Ferrer, who heads the illegal Patriotic Union of Cuba, was one of 75 prominent dissidents arrested in 2003 and sentenced to long prison terms.All of those dissidents were released by 2011 following mediation from the Catholic church, but most agreed to move to Spain with their families. Ferrer and a small group chose to stay in Cuba.Ferrer has been arrested three times this year -- he was detained for 27 days in April, 24 hours in May, and three days earlier this month.In Cuba, all political opposition is illegal. The government considers political dissidents "mercenaries" working for its arch-enemy, the US government.In May, the state newspaper Granma said that in Cuba, which has a population of 11 million, there were 57,000 prisoners.Dissidents however believe there are really between 70,000 and 80,000 prisoners, including 50 political activists.Separately, the office of Cuba's attorney general said Thursday that it found 46 security personnel criminally liable for mistreatment at prisons or detention centers between 2007 and 2011.The office however did not say what punishment the personnel received, if any.