Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Award-winning Cuban dissident detained

    Award-winning Cuban dissident detained

    Agence France-Presse

    10:12 am | Saturday, August 25th, 2012

    HAVANA – Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was arrested by

    police after an argument with agents guarding his home, his mother and

    activists said Friday.

    Farinas, who has gone on hunger strike about two dozen times against the

    regime, was arrested late Thursday in front of his home in the central

    city of Santa Clara, his mother Alicia Hernandez told AFP.

    "He went to talk to the patrol… and then they had an argument and took

    him into custody," she said.

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the banned but tolerated Cuban Committee for

    Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said Farinas wanted to speak

    to the agents because "the laptop of one of the members of his

    organization had apparently gone missing."

    Farinas, 50, was last arrested on July 24 along with about 50 others at

    the funeral of fellow activist Oswaldo Paya, who was killed in a car


    Hernandez said she was "worried" for her son due the poor sanitary

    conditions of police stations amid outbreaks of cholera and dengue on

    the communist island.

    Farinas won the Sakharov prize — the European parliament's top human

    rights award — in 2010 after his 135-day hunger strike to press for the

    release of political prisoners.

    A former soldier and supporter of Fidel Castro's revolution, Farinas

    distanced himself from the regime in 1989 when he opposed the execution

    of general Arnaldo Ochoa, who was accused of drug trafficking.

    Jose Daniel Ferrer, another dissident, was also arrested Thursday at his

    home in the southwestern town of Palmarito, Sanchez said.

    He noted that dissidents are usually arrested for several hours or

    several days by the government of Raul Castro, who took over in 2006

    from his ailing brother Fidel.

    In July, 406 dissidents were arrested, according to Sanchez's group. All

    opposition is illegal in Cuba and the communist government considers

    dissidents to be "mercenaries" in the pay of its top foe, the United States.

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