Castro 'regrets' death of jailed hunger striker Tamayo

News from Cuba | Thursday, 25 February 2010

From the Morning Star

Cuban President Raul Castro expressed regret on Wednesday over the death of a Cuban prisoner who had been on hunger strike since December.

Mr Castro said: "We took Orlando Zapata Tamayo to Cuba's best hospitals and he died. We very much regret it."

Mr Tamayo, who was a member of groups suspected of links to the CIA, was jailed in 2003 after being convicted of receiving funds from Washington, public disorder and "disobedience."

He was subsequently convicted of "disorder in a penal establishment" and his sentence was increased.

Mr Tamayo stopped eating solid food shortly afterwards.

Amnesty said that Mr Zapata's death reflected the desperation of "political prisoners" in Cuba.

And Mr Zapata's mother Reina charged that the death of her son was "a premeditated murder," alleging that he had been tortured.

Mr Castro said: "In half a century in Cuba there have been no extrajudicial executions and there is no torture here, where the revolution is in control - only at the base at Guantanamo."

He predicted that "all these problems will end" as soon as Washington "decides to live in peace with us."

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