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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Wife's campaign succeeds in Cuba
Berta Soler holds up her letter of complaint before delivering it to Communist Party HQ in Havana on Tuesday
Berta Soler wrote a letter of complaint to Fidel Castro
A jailed Cuban dissident has been moved to a military hospital in Havana after a rare public protest by his wife.

Angel Moya, 40, is awaiting a back operation after his wife Berta Soler and other inmates' spouses protested for nearly two days.

Police broke up the protest, in a park adjacent to Revolution Square at the heart of the city, on Thursday.

Moya is serving a 20-year jail term. He was among 75 people arrested in a crackdown on dissidents last year.

Mrs Soler began her protest on Tuesday when she delivered a letter addressed to Cuban leader Fidel Castro to the Communist Party headquarters in Revolution Square.

The letter demanded her husband, who suffers a herniated disc, be sent to hospital.

Mrs Soler says her husband, a human rights activist, has been waiting for the operation for months.

She then set up a vigil in a nearby park, where she was joined by the wives and mothers of other jailed dissidents - the so-called "ladies in white".

They have been known to stage vigils and marches before, but none in such a central, well-guarded location.

'Old man'

At dawn on Thursday, police officers broke up the protest and drove the women home.

Protesters in park near Revolution Square, Havana, on Wednesday
The "ladies in white" have been known to stage vigils and marches before
Later that day, Mrs Soler was told her husband had been transferred to Carlos Finlay military hospital in Havana, from his jail in the eastern Granma province.

After visiting her husband in the afternoon, Mrs Soler told reporters he looked "terrible".

She said: "He can't walk or sit because of the pain. He looks like an old man."

Cuban authorities have released seven of the 75 dissidents jailed last year, on charges of working against the state, on health grounds.

Among them was the only woman jailed, economist Martha Beatriz Roque, who joined the women in this week's protest.

Diplomats in Havana have said Cuba is keen to avoid the international criticism that would follow should any opponents of the regime die in jail.

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