Cuba security forces seize homes of dissidents ‘to prevent protests’

This article is over 4 months old Information Ministry did not immediately comment on government-led crackdown in Havana Security forces in Cuba have forcibly occupied the homes of dissident lawyers protesting against the re-arrest…

Cuba security forces seize homes of dissidents 'to prevent protests'

This article is over 4 months old

Information Ministry did not immediately comment on government-led crackdown in Havana

Security forces in Cuba have forcibly occupied the homes of dissident lawyers protesting against the re-arrest of a prominent legal defender and harassment of other lawyers, according to rights advocates.

Hundreds of people, among them dissidents and government supporters, took to the streets in Havana to show their solidarity with the detainees and an opposition website alleged they were held inside homes before being released without charge.

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Ramiro Valdés was sent back into pre-trial detention last week after the judge who ordered his release found his release had been revoked, the Committees for the Defence of Human Rights (CODHES) said.

Valdés’ attorney, Reinaldo Escobar, was also taken into custody and held in a Havana detention centre, CODHES added, reporting that at least 14 people were kept in custody for extended periods over the weekend.

Dozens of family members and supporters were at Valdés’ house on Sunday, including two women protesters who were blocked from entering by security officials, according to CODHES.

Cuban authorities have not commented on the detentions. The Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuban state television showed a photograph of an official from the agency responsible for demonstrations at a rally over the weekend but did not mention the arrests.

President Raul Castro announced plans in late 2014 to scale back the scope of dissidents’ protests and stop rallies during official holidays in an effort to “restore calm” in Cuba, which was hit by an internet blackout in 2012.

More than half a dozen representatives of human rights organisations travelled to Cuba in recent weeks to try to highlight the detainees’ plight but were denied entry.

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