Cuban NGO Decries Inhumane Treatment of Island’s Inmates

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Espa√ĪolCondemnation of the Cuban regime’s disregard for human rights has been mounting, and a new report zeroes in on mistreatment of prison inmates.

Members of the Cubalex Legal Information Center, a regional¬†human-rights NGO,¬†presented their findings at an Inter-American¬†Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) hearing on Monday. They cited overpopulation, excessive use of force, and a¬†lack of control mechanisms, among many maladies that plague Cuba’s prison system.

“Cubalex has observed that¬†prison¬†overcrowding ‚Ķ is one of the most widespread problems in Cuba.¬†A lack of basic and¬†special medical services, along with excessive use of force by prison guards, corruption, and¬†a lack of transparency¬†all contribute to poor prison conditions,” said Laritza Diversent, director of Cubalex.

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“Prison guards in Cuba¬†employ¬†unnecessary and disproportionate violence against inmates, often resulting¬†in serious injuries,” affirmed Diversent, who also mentioned a recent¬†increase in the number of¬†prison-violence cases.

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Laritza Diversent is a human-rights advocate and attorney who leads Cubalex. (@jurisconsultocu)

Diversent explained¬†that inmates “voluntarily commit to hunger strikes as a way of protesting,” in the face of apathetic Cuban authorities.¬†“It’s¬†common for prisoners to cut themselves or inject themselves with substances [in an attempt at suicide].” According to the Cubalex report,¬†six Cuban inmates have taken their own lives thus far¬†this year.

The¬†human-rights advocates went on to describe the living conditions of hunger strikers,¬†who are frequently¬†transferred to isolation cells¬†“full of cockroaches,¬†with rats coming out through the holes¬†in the latrines, and no ventilation.”

“The mistreatment of prisoners and the¬†poor condition¬†in which they live are unbearable,” Diversent said.

No representatives of the Cuban government attended the human-rights¬†hearing held before the IACHR. However, two years ago, in a rare report, Communist Party newspaper Granma acknowledged 57,000 inmates in Cuba’s jails. Despite the regime’s expulsion¬†from the Organization of American States having been revoked, the country¬†has refused to rejoin the multilateral organization.

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