Group: Cuban prisoners denied religious rights

It’s not a surprise but still worth noting that among the basic liberties denied Cuban prisoners of conscience are their religious rights.
BosNewsLife reports:

Religious rights of prisoners of conscience are “systematically violated in Cuban prisons,” despite a transfer of power on the Communist-run island, according to a new report released Tuesday, March 18, by a major Christian human rights group.
In its report Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) concludes that prison authorities “regularly deny political prisoners the right to religious literature including Bibles” and, “The right to meet with a pastor or priest or to meet together with other prisoners for religious study, prayer or worship.”
CSW released its findings on the fifth anniversary of a massive government crackdown on dissidents, now referred to by activists as ‘Cuba’s Black Spring.’
Some 75 members of Cuban civil society, Christian human right defenders, independent librarians, pro-democracy activists and independent journalists, were detained, subjected to summary trials, and handed down lengthy prison sentences.
CSW told BosNewsLife that its report is partly based on eight months of interviews with families of prisoners and former detainees. The report also highlights individual cases, including that of Christian Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista who is serving a fourteen-year sentence in the Holguín Provincial Prison on charges that include “harming the independence of the Cuban state or its territorial integrity” in the interest of a foreign state.
Domínguez Batista’s wife was quoted as saying that his Bible and all religious materials were confiscated in the summer of 2007 and have yet to be returned. “He has also had to repeatedly request access to a priest, a right which has only been granted every four to six months and most recently was denied outright,” CSW said.
Another “prisoner of conscience, Normando Hernández González has been denied the right to pastoral visits altogether,” according to the CSW report. “The interviews indicate that similar abuses take place on a regular basis in high security prisons across the island, suggesting that it is state policy aiming to psychologically break down political prisoners,” CSW said.
“The practice of denying the basic religious rights of prisoners of conscience is in direct contravention of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which specifies that the religious rights of all prisoners must be protected.”

Read the full CSW report, here.