HRW: Castro dictatorship abused peaceful protesters arrested during July 11 demonstrations

Human Rights Watch has released a report detailing some of the abuse suffered by peaceful protesters arrested by the communist Castro dictatorship during the July 11 protests.

The Cuban government has systematically engaged in arbitrary detention, ill-treatment of detainees, and abuse-ridden criminal prosecutions in response to overwhelmingly peaceful anti-government protests in July 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. The consistent and repeated patterns of abuses by multiple security forces, in multiple locations across Cuba, strongly suggest a plan by Cuban authorities to repress and suppress the demonstrations.

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“When thousands of Cubans took to the streets in July, the Cuban government responded with a brutal strategy of repression designed to instill fear and suppress dissent,” said Juan Pappier, senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Peaceful protesters and other critics have been systematically detained, held incommunicado and abused in horrendous conditions, and subjected to sham trials following patterns that indicate these human rights violations are not the actions of rogue agents.”

Human Rights Watch has documented human rights abuses including arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment in detention, and abusive criminal proceedings against 130 victims in 13 of Cuba’s 15 provinces, as well as in Isle of Youth, a small Cuban island considered a “special municipality.” Between July and October Human Rights Watch interviewed by phone more than 150 people, including activists, victims, their relatives, journalists, and lawyers with direct knowledge of the cases; reviewed case files, fines levied against protesters, press reports and publications by Cuban rights groups; and corroborated photos and videos.

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In most of the cases Human Rights Watch documented, detainees were held incommunicado for days or even weeks, violently arrested, and, in some cases ill-treated during detention. Some were forced to squat naked, apparently deliberately deprived of sleep, brutally beaten, and held in cells without natural light where they say they lost track of time. Others were threatened with reprisals against them or their families for protesting.

Most detainees suffered abusive and repeated interrogations, at times in the middle of the night, in which they were often questioned about the “organization” and “financing” of demonstrations, and threatened with long prison terms.

Read the entire report from HRW HERE.