Mothers of Political Prisoners in Cuba Demand Justice

Appeal to Aid to the Church in Need

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HAVANA, MAY 6, 2003 ( The mothers of dissidents arrested recently by the Cuban regime have demanded the immediate release of the their sons.

In an appeal addressed to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the mothers state: «Our sons have committed only one ‘crime,’ and that is to defend human rights in Cuba by peaceful means.» The document was reported by the Latin American bishops’ council.

«In numerous official declarations the Cuban government has pledged itself to respect human rights, notably at the conclusion of every summit of Latin American states,» the document stresses.

«But instead our government has adopted a state policy far removed from this, which includes the systematic abuse of human rights. … By means of such repressive measures the government is hoping to silence the voice of peace,» the letter continues.

The mothers are appealing for justice to international organizations, among them the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the European Commission, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

They are also calling on the Catholic bishops’ conference and ecumenical council of Cuba to pass on this appeal to John Paul II and to the World Council of Churches.

The Castro government arrested 75 dissidents in February and March, the majority intellectuals and journalists. They were sentenced after summary trials to up to 28 years of imprisonment.

Almost half the dissidents belong to the Christian Liberation Movement, a peaceful initiative that promotes democracy and the defense of human rights in Cuba.

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