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Latino Daily News

Thursday May 10, 2012

Suspicious Details Regarding the Arrest of Prominent Cuban Dissident

Suspicious Details Regarding the Arrest of Prominent Cuban Dissident

Photo: Jose Daniel Ferrer

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The opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation denounced the fact that dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer, who spent eight years in prison as one of the “Group of 75,” was arrested on Wednesday in Havana.

The spokesman for the commission, Elizardo Sanchez, told Efe that Ferrer was arrested Wednesday morning in the capital in an operation he called a “virtual kidnapping.”

Sanchez said that the arrest occurred when Ferrer was going to the Czech Embassy in Havana to “access the Internet” and it was witnessed, from a distance of about 20 meters (yards), by another dissident who was accompanying him.

Sanchez said that Ferrer had been in Havana for several days and on Tuesday he had had a meeting with diplomats representing European Union countries.

“I took him there and then a diplomat took him back to my house,” said Sanchez, explaining that the dissident had been staying at his home and during his activities in Havana “he was accompanied by somebody at all times.”

Ferrer, the head of the illegal opposition group Patriotic Union of Cuba, was held under arrest for 27 days in April in his home province of Santiago de Cuba and currently is awaiting trial on charges of disturbing the peace.

In the past few months, the 41-year-old dissident was temporarily arrested several other times.

The rights commission added that this “arbitrary arrest” of Ferrer may be added to the arrests of members of the Ladies in White group and opposition figures in the central province of Villa Clara, all of which occurred earlier this week.

Henry Perales, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba who witnessed Ferrer’s arrest on Wednesday, told Efe that people in plainclothes “stopped him on the street, asked him for his identity card and loaded him into a car.”

According to Perales’ version, someone in another automobile was filming the arrest of Ferrer, who presented his identification and did not resist.

As one of the Group of 75 members sentenced to lengthy prison terms in the spring of 2003, Ferrer was freed on parole in March 2011 and was among the 12 members of the group who refused to travel to Spain as a condition for being allowed to leave prison.