Cuban opposition leader Oscar Elias Biscet released after several hours in detention

Cuban opposition leader and former political prisoner Oscar Elias Biscet was arrested by State Security early Tuesday morning and held for several hours before finally being released. The purpose of his arrest appears to be an attempt by the communist dictatorship to prevent him from attending a meeting of his dissident organization, the Emilia Project, on its 11th anniversary. Once again we see how fragile the Castro dictatorship is that if fears the most innocuous of events held by dissidents.

Via Martí Noticias (my translation):

Dr. Biscet says his arrest was another example of the serious human rights violations in Cuba

Opposition leader and former political prisoner Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet was released this Tuesday in Havana after being detained for several hours.

Dr. Biscet, winner of the David Burke Award for journalistic excellence presented by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) for his work at Radio Martí and awarded in 2007 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, would have celebrated the eleventh anniversary of his Emilia Project on January 9, aimed at Cuba’s return to democracy through the collection of signatures.

In statements sent to our editorial office in writing and also by phone, the renowned activist explained that the police arrested him at 8:30 am at Milagros and 8th in Lawton, Havana, as he was heading to El Vedado for a meeting with other project activists.

“They drove me in police car #091 to the Santa Fe police station and kept me seated in an office for 8 hours of interrogation, and I did not cooperate. They did not want to tell me the reason for my arrest, only that I knew why I was there. They indirectly stated that I knew I was going to a meeting for the Emilia Project. At 4:50 PM, State Security put me in a police car and left me near my home with the intention of getting me away from the location of the activity,” explained the former political prisoner, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the Black Spring of 2003, and released in 2011 on parole.

In his message, he thanked “all freedom-loving people and the international community who showed solidarity and condemned my arbitrary arrest and demanded my freedom.” In fact, his detention immediately prompted numerous condemnations from prominent U.S. politicians, exile groups, and human rights activists, who praised the doctor’s political stance.

“This is yet another example of the serious human rights violations in the country. I am a defender of human rights, especially freedom of expression. We will continue in the principles of the Emilia Project until the creation of a free Cuba,” added the Internal Medicine specialist, who began his opposition work decades ago while working as a doctor at the Materno Infantil Hospital in 10 de Octubre. That is where he began his activism in support of human rights and the right to life by strongly criticizing the health policies in Cuba regarding abortion practices.

On social media, his wife, Elsa Morejón, also thanked everyone who demanded his freedom.

“They cut off the internet after his arbitrary arrest. Dr. Biscet is a pro-life doctor, a human rights activist practicing nonviolence in Cuba. He should never have been imprisoned,” Morejón added.

This Tuesday, Sylvia Rosabal, director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, strongly condemned Dr. Biscet’s detention. “The fact that the Cuban government has targeted Dr. Biscet – two years in a row, just before the annual meeting of the Emilia Project – is an obvious attempt to silence the pursuit of human rights in Cuba,” she stated, referring to a similar detention exactly one year ago.

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