Civil rights group asks for the release of 50 political prisoners
Dionisio García, the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba
Havana/ Frankfurt am Main (25th of May 2012) - As the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) reports, Dionisio García, the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, saw a delegation of the civil rights group “Damas de Blanco” (“Ladies in White”) yesterday. The spokesperson of the group Berta Soler and three of her colleagues asked the Archbishop in the priestly residence in Havana amongst others for the release of more than 50 political prisoners.
The request of the “Ladies in White”, who are attending the mass every Sunday and are demanding freedom for all political prisoners in Cuba during peaceful protest marches after that, was backed up with a list with the names of the 50 prisoners. Moreover the four ladies gave Archbishop Dionisio García a list with the names of 60 “Ladies in White”, who have been arrested on the island during the visit of Pope Benedikt XVI., yesterday.
Berta Soler called the Archbishop after the meeting as “very receptive”, the “Ladies in White” could share their opinions about the political situation in Cuba and their goals as civil rights activists.
The ISHR, that is represented with a work group in Cuba, welcomes the decision of the Catholic Church, to give the four “Ladies in White” an audience, especially because the wish of the “Ladies in White” to meet the Pope last March remained unfulfilled due to appointment reasons.
It was mainly criticized at national and international level that the Pope had time for Raúl and Fidel Castro. “To listen to the dissidents and civil rights activists of Cuba, whose freedom of opinion and freedom of assembly are consistently limited, is a first step in the right direction”, says Martin Lessenthin, Speaker of the Board of the ISHR. “The Catholic Church should listen to their concerns and should stand up for the release of the political prisoners, who are only demanding their fundamental human rights”, adds Lessenthin.
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