Friday, 25 April 2014

Czech bishop demands that Castro releases political prisoners

ČTK |
21 March 2012

Prague, March 20 (CTK) - Czech Bishop Vaclav Maly has written a letter to Cuban President Raul Castro asking him to release political prisoners in the country, the Prague archbishopric told CTK yesterday.

Maly said the "harassment" of human rights advocates made the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba not trustworthy.

The Pope will arrive in Cuba next week.

"Mr President, seek the release of all prisoners of conscience in your country and contribute with your authority to the human rights advocates with which I voice my solidarity not being harassed while at liberty," Maly wrote.

A dissident under the Communist Czechoslovak regime, Maly was one of the main protagonists of its fall in 1989.

The Czech government has been among critics of the situation in Cuba for a long time. In the EU, Prague is one of the most vocal critics of the Communist regime in Cuba.

The Catholic church is of the view that demonstrations may be held before the Pope's forthcoming visit.

The group Ladies in White that associates wives of imprisoned dissidents is active in Cuba.

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to raise the issue of observance of human rights during his visit.

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