Prisoners Defenders reported that as of August, Cuba was holding 75 people who met the definition of political prisoners, as well as 28 others who the group considered were being held for their political beliefs; another 33 who had been convicted for their political beliefs were under house arrest or on conditional release. The government denies independent human rights groups access to its prisons. Local groups believe the actual number of political prisoners is higher, but the restrictions limit their ability to document cases.
Cubans who criticize the government continue to risk criminal prosecution. They do not benefit from due process guarantees, such as the right to fair and public hearings by a competent and impartial tribunal. In practice, courts are subordinate to the executive and legislative branches.
In February, a judge in Santiago convicted José Daniel Ferrer, of the Cuban Patriotic Union, of assault and kidnapping in what activists say was an irregular trial. In April, after six months in pretrial detention, he was sentenced to four years of house arrest.
In April 2020, pro-democracy activist and opposition party member Maikel Herrera Bones was arrested after protesting power cuts in his neighborhood and arguing with a police officer. He was initially charged with disobeying orders, but a week after he was detained authorities increased the charge to “assault.” In August, Herrera called a fellow activist from prison to report that officials were not providing him with proper treatment for HIV and that he was becoming ill. In September, Herrera told another activist that officials said they would provide proper medical treatment if he stopped complaining about abuses in the prison.
Source : World Report 2021
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