08/17/13 - UPI.com - Repatriation of 24 Cubans said 'blight' on Bahamas'
human right record
MIAMI, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Cuban immigrant groups in the United States have
sharply criticized a decision by Bahamian officials to send 24 Cuban
immigrants back to Havana.
Eight of the immigrants had been offered asylum in Panama after alleging a
guard at a Nassau detention center beat them, The Miami Herald reported
Saturday. Authorities in the Bahamas have said they have an agreement with
Cuba to repatriate undocumented Cubans who don't qualify for political
Ramon Saul Sanchez, head of the Democracy Movement -- an organization of
Cuban exiles based in Miami -- accused Bahamian Prime Minister Perry
Christie of returning the immigrants to Cuba "to hide from public view
those who were tortured in his country."
He said eight of the Cubans were involved in creating a cellphone video
that allegedly showed a guard at the detention center kicking several
detainees on the ground. Those detainees and 11 others had been offered
political asylum by Panama.
Bahamian officials claimed in July the video was faked, but U.S. Rep.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said Friday she had been told by U.S. State
Department officials that Nassau had since confirmed the video was real and
fired the offending guards.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., called the repatriation -- despite
Panama's asylum offer -- an "utter disgrace and blight" on the Bahamas'
human rights record.
He said Nassau would have to "assume the responsibility for the abuses that
they [the 24] will inevitably suffer."
Visible links 1. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
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