(CNSNews.com) – In a joint press conference with President Barack Obama in Havana, Cuba, on Monday, Cuban dictator Raul Castro was asked if his country had Cuban political prisoners and why he won’t release them, to which Castro replied, “What political prisoners?”
“Give me a list of the political prisoners, and I will release them immediately. Just mention a list. What political prisoners?” Castro said.
“Give me a name or names or when after this meeting is over you can give me a list of political prisoners, and if we have those political prisoners, they will be released before the night ends,” Castro added.
According to the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, in 2012, the Cuban government declared that 57,337 people were incarcerated. Human rights organizations estimated there were more than 65,000 prisoners and detainees. “Political prisoners and the general prison population were held in similar conditions,” the State Department noted.
“Political prisoners who refused to wear standard prison uniforms were denied certain privileges, such as access to prison libraries and standard reductions in the severity of their sentence (for example, being transferred from a maximum-security to a medium-security prison),” the State Department stated on its website.
“The government sometimes placed healthy prisoners, including political prisoners, in cells with mentally disturbed inmates as punishment. Political prisoners also reported being threatened or harassed by fellow inmates whom they believed were acting on orders of prison authorities,” the website added.