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Cuban dissident Fariñas says police to punish agent who threatened him

Posted on Thursday, 02.16.12

CUBA

Cuban dissident Fariñas says police to punish agent who threatened him

Police tell Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas that the government agent
who threatened to kill him will be punished.
By Juan O. Tamayo
jtamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

Cuban police have told dissident Guillermo Fariñas they will punish a
former officer who threatened to kill him, an unprecedented move that
Fariñas said should embolden other dissidents attacked by security agents.

"This is a blow against impunity," said Fariñas. "Peaceful opposition
activists can now file lawsuits for injuries, for threats, for attempted
murders, against those who pummel them constantly."

Fariñas said National Revolutionary Police officials told him Monday he
will be allowed to witness the session next week where the man who
threatened him, former Interior Ministry Maj. Miguel Morejó Padrón, will
be sanctioned.

Morejó will be hit with a restraining order to stay away from Fariñas, a
warning that he will go to jail if he threatens the dissident again and
a 300 peso fine, just high enough to trigger a criminal record, the
dissident said.

Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2010 for
his peaceful opposition activism, said it was the first known incident
in which a government agent is punished for acting against dissidents.

Facing his many public complaints against Morejó, "the authorities
didn't want this grinding, demoralizing media show and decided to
sacrifice one of its officers," he told El Nuevo Herald by telephone.

Cuban dissidents regularly complain of beatings, harassments and threats
at the hands of security forces and government-organized mobs when they
attempt to stage public protests. Some have been rushed to hospitals for
treatment of injuries.

Fariñas said the death threat came on Nov. 2, when he went to the
Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital in his hometown of Santa Clara to visit
dissidents Alcides Rivera and Roland Ferrer, who had been admitted amid
lengthy hunger strikes.

Morejó, who had left the Interior Ministry with the rank of major and
was second in command of the hospital's security, intercepted him, hit
him and threatened to kill him, he added. Morejó's job in the ministry,
in charge of domestic security, and the reasons for his departure were
not known.

Fariñas was detained and when he was released on the 4th he went to the
National Revolutionary Police to file a complaint. Morejó was summoned
and boasted "that he threatened to kill me, and that he would kill me if
he had to," the dissident added.

The police initially told him they would do nothing, but he returned to
the police station three times and stood in front of the building in
protest. He was arrested each time, and released hours or days later.

Fariñas said police told him a "multidisciplinary" team had examined the
case and decided on the warning and fine because Morejó had no previous
criminal record.

Cuban authorities regularly deny allegations of abuses by the island's
security forces and boast that its National Revolutionary Police and
State Security agents at the Interior Ministry are superbly trained.

There have been reports that some security agents were privately
disciplined after committing abuses. But there are no known cases in
which the victims were informed of the punishments, or were allowed to
witness them.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/16/2643403/cuban-dissident-farinas-says.html

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