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Report: Cuba's 'arbitrary' detentions up 255 percent this year

By
Andrew V. Pestano
The United States and Cuba began to normalize relations in late 2014. The efforts brought the historic visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to the island nation in March, but the Cuban Observatory on Human Rights has condemned the Raul Castro regime for increased arbitrary detentions. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The United States and Cuba began to normalize relations in late 2014. The efforts brought the historic visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to the island nation in March, but the Cuban Observatory on Human Rights has condemned the Raul Castro regime for increased "arbitrary detentions." File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

HAVANA, April 4 (UPI) -- The Cuban Observatory on Human Rights has condemned the Castro regime for what it considers the "arbitrary detention" of more than 1,200 people in March, including hundreds who were detained during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit.

In March, there were 1,245 arbitrary detentions, made up of the arrests of 682 men and 563 women, the Cuban Observatory on Human Rights reported. The group defines arbitrary detentions as arrests made with a political motive.

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Violence was used in at least 107 arrests. During Obama's visit from March 19 until March 22, at least 319 people were arrested -- 205 men and 114 women.

In March last year, there were 480 arrests -- meaning arrests increased about 159 percent this year.

This year there were 1,474 arrests in January and 1,176 arrests in February. Last year, there were 134 arrests in January and 483 in February.

So far this year there have been 3,895 arrests, a 255 percent increase over the same period last year. In total last year, there were 8,314 arrests -- meaning if the current trend continues, arrests this year would overtake last year's total by July.

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