Cuba dissident and wife detained on way to CNN interview
By Jim Acosta and Tiffany Ap, CNN
Updated 1040 GMT (1840 HKT) March 22, 2016
Around 20 dissidents were rounded up that day, according to another activist
President Barack Obama is in Cuba for a historic three-day trip
Arrests made the same day Cuban leader Raul Castro denied keeping
Havana (CNN)A Cuban dissident says he and his wife were arrested by the
country’s secret police Monday as they were on their way to the CNN
bureau for an interview.
Antonio Rodiles told CNN they were confronted by the police and arrested
in what he calls a “violent way” after his wife chanted pro-democracy
slogans. They were detained for at least six hours, he said.
“Twenty something dissidents were detained by Cuban authorities in
Havana on Monday,” human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez told CNN by
phone. It includes Berta Soler, the leader of “Ladies in White,” a
dissident group formed by families of political prisoners.
According to Sanchez, who heads the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, some of the dissidents were detained while
arriving at Santa Rica Church where they had been scheduled to march in
Soler, Rodiles and roughly 60 dissidents had also been detained for
several hours on Sunday after participating in a march in Havana.
Rodiles adds that his movements are being tracked by the police. He
expects to be part of the human rights group that will meet with
President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the U.S. embassy.
Coincides with Obama visit
Obama is in Cuba on an historic three-day trip, the first time a sitting
U.S. president has visited in 88 years.
On Monday, Cuban President Raul Castro denied having “political
prisoners” when questioned by CNN’s Jim Acosta during a news conference
According to Sanchez, there are 77 political dissidents in prison and
another 11 under house arrest. These figures do not include the
individuals rounded up and detained on Monday.
READ: Obama tells Raul Castro embargo is going to end
White House calls to end detentions
The White House says the practice of rounding up dissidents must end.
“We reiterate our call for the Cuban government to end the practice of
arbitrary detentions,” National Security spokesman Ned Price said.
CNN’s Jim Acosta reported from Havana, Tiffany Ap wrote from Hong Kong.
Antoine Sanfuentes and Kevin Liptak also contributed to this report.
Source: Cuba dissident detained on way to CNN interview –
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