Amnesty International Urges Cuba to Stop Intimidation of ‘Ladies in White’

Posted August 22nd, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Amnesty International is calling on Cuban authorities to end the intimidation of women who have been campaigning for the release of political prisoners.

The human rights group issued a statement Monday, following the recent arrest of 19 members of the group “Ladies in White” in and near the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

Amnesty said the women were arrested as they gathered in several locations to make their way to a planned march at a cathedral in the city. It says 11 of the women were rounded up as they tried to leave the home of a supporter in the nearby town of Palma Soriano.

The group says it believes all 19 women have been released.

Since mid-July, members of the Ladies in White have gathered in Santiago de Cuba on Sundays to stage silent protests and attend Mass. Amnesty says in the past month, the women and their supporters have repeatedly faced arbitrary arrest and physical attacks while staging protests in the city and surrounding areas.

In 2003, Cuban authorities rounded up 75 of the women's relatives during a crackdown on dissent and sentenced them to prison terms of up to 28 years. The last of that group was released this past May, but the Ladies in White continue to protest for the release of other political prisoners.

Cuba has said it holds no political prisoners, only “mercenaries” allegedly working for the United States to undermine Cuban communism.