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article imageDissident leader Ferrer released by Cuba: supporter

By AFP     Feb 27, 2021 in World

Leading Cuban dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer was released late Friday after 10 hours in police custody and ordered by a judge to end his political activities, he said.

Ferrer denounced his "violent and arbitrary detention" in a video posted to the YouTube channel of the banned opposition organization he leads, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).

Ferrer, one of the most recognizable dissidents who has chosen to stay in Cuba rather than go into exile, had been under house arrest before being taken into custody.

He was jailed in 2003 after leading calls for democratic political reforms.

Released in 2011 following pressure from the Roman Catholic Church, he formed UNPACU.

An activist said police had entered Ferrer's house -- the organization's national headquarters in Santiago de Cuba, around 550 miles (900 kilometers) southeast of Havana -- and taken him out through the back door.

Ferrer had painted the phrase "Patria y Vida" ("Fatherland and Life") on the facade, the title of a protest song by Cuban rappers denouncing the Communist government.

Ferrer and three other members of his organization were imprisoned from March 2019 to April 2020 but their sentences were commuted to between four and five years of house arrest.

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