Cuba suspended the trial scheduled for Friday of three democracy activists arrested during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit last year, and a jailed dissident rapper was reported to be maintaining his two-week-old hunger strike in a hospital.
No explanation was given why the government called off the trial of Ladies in White member Sonia Garro, her husband Ramón Alejandro Muñoz, and activist Eugenio Hernández Hernández.
Prosecutors accused them of trying to kill policemen when they resisted a raid on Garro’s home on March 17, 2012. Police allegedly used tear gas and Garro was allegedly shot in her leg with a rubber bullet during the raid. Prosecutors have asked for a 14-year sentence for Muñoz, 11 for Hernandez and 10 for Garro. No new trial date was set.
A large group from the dissident Ladies in White had planned to gather outside the Havana courtroom Friday to show their support for Garro.
Opposition activists, meanwhile, reported that on Friday Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, who has been on a hunger strike for two weeks to protest his imprisonment since March, was in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the eastern city of Bayamo.
Remón stopped eating solid foods in mid-September, stopped taking liquids a week ago and was taken from prison to the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital on Oct. 29, according to reports from dissidents.
A member of the rapper duo The Sons that No One Wanted, he was arrested March 25 for allegedly attacking a state security agent during a demonstration outside his home by a pro-government mob in what is known as an “act of repudiation.”
The respected Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported that police carried out 909 short-term arrests of dissidents during October, the second highest monthly total in four years. Authorities carried out a record 1,158 arrests to avert public protests during Benedict’s visit in March of 2012, the commission’s report showed.
Dissidents have been complaining of increased repression in recent months, including violent arrests, short-term detentions designed to harass and intimidate opposition activists and dismissals from jobs or schools.