Jan 21 - 31-year-old jailed dissident, Wilmar Villar Mendoza dies on hunger strike and what opposition activist believe was mistreatment by the Cuban government. Marie-Claire Fennessy reports.
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL 31 year old Wilmar Villar Mendoza has died while on a hunger strike. He had reached the 56th day. Human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez says his death was caused by the hunger strike and also mistreatment by the Cuban government. (SOUNDBITE) ELIZARDO SANCHEZ, CUBAN COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, SAYING(Spanish): "We are blaming the Cuban government in a very clear way for this avoidable death because when a political prisoner goes on hunger strike, the first thing the Cuban government does is punish the prisoner, isolate him in a solitary confinement and high punishment cell and this, obviously, puts the protester's life at risk. It's what happened with Wilmar and the same thing happened to Orlando Zapata Tamayo." Mendoza had been taken to a hospital on January 14 as his condition deteriorated, and he died there. He had been arrested in November for crimes including disobedience and resistance, Sanchez said. Video footage release by Jose Ferrer Garcia, a member of the Cuban Patriotic Union, showed what he said was the protest Mendoza had taken part in. Cuba drew international condemnation when another imprisoned dissident, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died in February 2010 after an 85-day hunger strike. Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters