HAVANA — At least 20 Cuban dissidents, part of a group of 75 journalists, librarians and economists arrested nearly a year ago, are seriously ill in Cuban prisons where they are being held under inhumane conditions, their wives, friends and human rights activists say.
"They are killing these people," said Miriam Leiva, whose imprisoned husband, Oscar Espinosa Chepe, suffers from cirrhosis of the liver. Espinosa Chepe, 63, an economist sentenced to 20 years for criticizing Fidel Castro's economic policies, is being held in a cell at a military hospital in Havana, Leiva said.
His cell has no windows or running water, and the lights are kept on 24 hours a day, she said. He has lost 40 pounds, is unable to eat and has a fungal infection covering his legs, she said.
Information about conditions faced by the dissidents comes in letters from prison, occasional phone calls and family visits. The International Committee of the Red Cross, rights groups and journalists have not been granted access to the prisons.