- The Washington Times - Monday, May 10, 2004


Activists convicted, sentenced to jail

HAVANA — Three opposition activists have been convicted of public disorder, disobedience and resistance, and sentenced to jail terms of four and five years, a dissident source said yesterday.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National reconciliation, led by Elizardo Sanchez Santacruz, identified the dissidents, jailed since Feb. 2, 2002, as Rafael Corrales Alonso, Ricardo Ramos Pereira and Jose Santana Carrerira. They were linked to the “Frank Pais” November 30 Democratic Party.

“Given the identity of these political prisoners and the peaceful nature of their actions, our commission will propose this week that Amnesty International adopt them as prisoners of conscience,” the commission said.

Cuba is holding more than 300 political prisoners, it added. They include journalist and poet Raul Rivero, economist Marta Beatriz Roque and other dissidents whom Havana accuses of being on the U.S. payroll.


Civilian court ruling infuriates military

LA PAZ — The armed forces assailed over the weekend a court ruling that soldiers accused of human rights abuses must be tried in civilian courts, ordering military personnel to remain in their barracks in one of the strongest protests in 22 years of democracy.

Bolivia’s Supreme Court on Friday annulled a ruling by a military tribunal that had found four officers not guilty of killing a nurse last year, saying they must be tried in civilian court. That sparked fury in the armed forces, but the military said it would not threaten President Carlos Mesa’s government.

The nurse was killed in February 2003 during street protests against President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who was ousted in October in a nationwide revolt by Indian groups. He was replaced by his vice president, Mr. Mesa.

Weekly notes

Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide plans to visit South Africa soon on a trip that could pave the way for asylum, officials in Johannesburg said yesterday. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said he will ask the Cabinet during its three-day session starting today to allow Mr. Aristide, who is in Jamaica, to visit as a “guest of the South African government” pending further consultations on granting him asylum. … Mexico sought yesterday to soothe a diplomatic row with Cuba as Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez said he hoped to meet with his Cuban counterpart this month. “Mexico is holding out its hand. We are very seriously interested that it is clear we do not seek a breakoff in relations with Cuba,” Mr. Derbez said in Madrid.

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