Cuba: Imprisoned democracy activist and opposition leader Antúnez viciously beaten by prison guards
#SOSAntunez -- Jailed Cuban freedom fighter Antunez viciously beaten by Castro stormtroopers
Cuban activist Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), who on Sunday was arrested for the second time in less than a week, has been viciously beaten in jail by officers with a "special brigade," his wife Yris said Wednesday after she was released from jail.
Yris Perez Aguilera, who said Antunez faces a criminal charge of "disrespecting Fidel Castro," called on "people of goodwill" to support her husband, a leading hardline opponent of the Castro regime.
"Those responsible for the physical attacks were officials with Cuban State Security and members of the Special Brigade. ... I can assure you that Antunez was beaten with cruelty," Perez said in a statement issued by the Miami-based Cuban Democratic Directorate.
Antunez, who is being held in a police station in his hometown of Placetas, and his wife were first arrested June 11, released on June 13 and the arrested again on Sunday.
When he was first arrested, officers accused him of being responsible for the apperance of anti-Castro placards in Placetas and for protesting efforts to improve relations with the United States. Antunez has consistenly opposed calls for the U.S. to loosen sanctions on the Castro regime.
Antunez has been detained numerous times since his release in 2007 after serving more than 17 years in jail as political prisoner.
Recent events are disturbing as the regime appears to be taking its attacks on Antunez to a new, more dangerous level, just as the world's attention is focused on events thousands of miles away in the Middle East.
After spending some time with Antunez and Yris during their visit to Tampa last year, I don't expect Antunez to lessen his opposition to the Castro dictatorship, either with his rhetoric or with his actions.
That is why it is vital, as Yris and the Directorate implored, that we stand up on his behalf and to demand his immediate release.
The regime wants to silence Antunez, and it would be a mistake to underestimate to what extent it will go.
And it would be wrong to abandon Antunez at a time when he needs us most.