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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
EU condemns Cuba over human rights
President Castro
Castro accused of 'deplorable' human rights abuses
The European Union has announced it will impose a range of diplomatic sanctions against Cuba over its recent human rights record.

In a sharply worded statement issued by presidency-holder Greece, the EU said it was re-examining its relationship with Havana.

It announced a number of measures including limitations on high-level government visits.

The EU said it regretted that the Cuban authorities broke a moratorium on the death penalty.

And it condemned recent "deplorable" actions by the Cuban authorities which it said violated fundamental freedoms in Cuba, and were aimed at "depriving civilians of the ultimate human right, that of life".

Cuba recently carried out the summary execution of three men who hijacked a ferry in an attempt to escape the island.

'US conspiracy'

It also handed down long prison terms to 75 political activists.

The EU urged Cuba to release political prisoners, while demanding that the conditions in which they were being held be immediately improved.

"The EU, mindful of increasing reports about poor detention conditions of prisoners with serious health problems, appeals to the Cuban authorities that, in the meantime, the prisoners do not suffer unduly and are not exposed to inhumane treatment," it added.

The EU opened a new office in Havana in March which officials said would improve and deepen relations between Europe and Cuba.

After international protests over the recent executions, Cuba defended its action saying it had to protect its independence from a US-funded conspiracy to undermine the government of Fidel Castro.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said dissidents in Cuba were part of a plot in which the US Government was attempting to create and fund a political opposition in Cuba.

He objected to descriptions of dissidents as independent journalists and economists, calling them mercenaries.

Cuba's phoney war
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24 Apr 03  |  Americas
EU opens first Cuba office
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Country profile: Cuba
04 Jun 03  |  Country profiles

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