Cuba Activist: Brief Detentions Doubled In 2011

Published January 10, 2012 6:18PM (EST)

HAVANA (AP) — A leading Cuban human rights campaigner says brief detentions of dissidents nearly doubled in 2011 compared to the year before.

Elizardo Sanchez says in a report released Tuesday that there were 4,123 arrests of dissidents, nearly all of them lasting "for several hours or days." That's up from 2,074 in 2010.

Sanchez also reported a spike of 796 arrests in December, even as the government released hundreds of mostly common criminals serving long prison terms.

Cuba no longer has any inmates considered "prisoners of conscience" by Amnesty International after freeing the last of dozens of intellectuals and social activists in 2011.

Cuba's government disputes Sanchez's statistics and calls dissidents "mercenaries" in service of Washington.

(This version CORRECTS number of reported arrests to 4,123.)

By Salon Staff

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