Eleven dissidents from Cuba win Czech Human Rights award

Freedom Denied Cuba_020414

Via the Prague Daily Monitor:

Czech Homo Homini human rights prize goes to 11 Cuban dissidents

The Homo Homini Prize, which the Czech People in Need NGO annually bestows on groups or individuals for their contribution to human rights, democracy and non-violent tackling of conflicts at the One World festival of human rights films in Prague, goes to 11 Cuban dissidents this year.

People in Need, a humanitarian organisation with branches all over the world, has awarded the Cubans, all former political prisoners, for their courage and moral consistency.

Despite the pressure exerted on them by the Cuban regime, they decided not to emigrate but to continue fighting for freedom in their homeland, People in Need says.

They will be awarded at the ceremonial opening of the One World international film event tonight.

In 2003, Fidel Castro’s regime detained 75 leading dissidents and imposed jail sentences from six to 28 years on them during the Black Spring of 2003, People in Need says.

As a result of the international efforts, most of the dissidents were released from prison in 2010. However, their sentences have been only suspended, which is why they may be jailed again anytime. They face a strong pressure forcing them to leave Cuba, People in Need says.

People in Need has been operating in Cuba since 1997 when it started to support local dissidents and political prisoners.

Amid the recent changes in the situation in Cuba, People in Need focuses on supporting the activities of independent civic groups and journalists. It also monitors human rights violation cases and defends politically persecuted people.

People in Need awarded the Homo Homini Prize in 1994 for the first time.

In the past, the prize went to personalities such as Azeri lawyer Intigam Iliyev, Kyrgyz defender of unjustly prosecuted people Azimzhan Askarov, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who later won the Nobel Peace Prize, Cuban Catholic priest Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Syrian teacher Suad Naufal, who openly criticised both the Bashar Assad regime and Islamic State.
rtj/dr