World Briefs

CUBA

Human rights group says dissidents being detained

HAVANA — Dozens of opposition activists have been detained in Cuba in the past five weeks, an outlawed rights group said Tuesday, blaming President Raul Castro for the crackdown.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation said at least 65 men and women have been arrested by secret police; 29 remain in custody.

“For five weeks, the government has carried out violent political repression against women and other peaceful dissidents” in Santiago de Cuba province in the south of the island, according to a statement signed by the rights group’s founder and spokesman Elizardo Sanchez.

“Most were totally unarmed and suffered acts of police brutality,” it added.

According to the statement, several members of the “Ladies in White” group, which comprises wives and relatives of political prisoners, were “beaten and arrested” Sunday to prevent them from joining a Mass at the cathedral in Santiago de Cuba.

A Ladies in White leader, Berta Soler, told Agence France-Presse that the group planned to meet Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega in Havana on Tuesday, and would ask him to intervene on behalf of dissidents, officially considered “mercenaries” in the pay of the U.S. government.

IRAN

Press TV: Iran sending warship, sub to region’s seas

CAIRO — An official Iranian news agency said Iran is sending a submarine and a warship to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Press TV quotes the commander, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying the deployment will serve the country’s interests and “convey the message of peace and friendship to all countries.”

The item on Press TV’s website Tuesday said the presence of the Iranian navy would “tighten security for all countries.”

Adm. Sayyari said the ships also would fight against pirates.

Somalia, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden, is a base for many pirate gangs.

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