(FILE) Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas in a press conference in Carolina (Puerto Rico) today, Saturday, November 26, 2016, following the news of the death of the leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro. EFE/THAIS LLORCA

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas arrested in Santa Clara

Havana, Sept 15 (EFE).- Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize, was arrested Friday as he left his home in the city of Santa Clara, in the center of the island.

“They arrested him this morning when he was on his way to meet a friend,” Alicia Hernández, Fariñas’ mother, told EFE.

Hernández, who witnessed the arrest, explained that the police “told him that he could not leave the house for three days,” coinciding with the G77 and China summit being celebrated in Havana with the presence of more than 100 international delegations.

She said that “they couldn’t keep him prisoner at home” and that Fariñas “didn’t want to do anything but see his friend – who helped him when no one else would – and now he’s blind and sick.”

A few hours ago, Fariñas wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “I want to make it very clear that my house is not a dungeon and I will leave my house as I always do, and if they want to arrest me, then arrest me.”

“They took him, the summit is for three days and he left without medication,” said the mother of the dissident, recalling that “he is immunosuppressed, has had 17 surgeries and suffers from epilepsy.”

Fariñas, general coordinator of the illegal opposition organization United Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FANTU), has been temporarily detained several times, most recently in June at the Santa Clara airport after an incident in which his suitcases were lost upon his return from a trip to Miami, USA.

As a result of this situation, he declared a hunger and thirst strike to demand, among other things, the unconditional release of all political prisoners on the island, and after 17 days he abandoned his protest at the request of FANTU.

Fariñas, a 61-year-old psychologist, is one of Cuba’s best-known dissidents, especially for his 28 hunger strikes since 1995, mostly demanding that the government end its repression of the opposition.

The Cuban government considers dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries” serving the interests of the United States and denies that it has political prisoners in its prisons. EFE