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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 25, 2010 @ 11:40 am

    ‘I’ll Wear No Prison Uniform Nor Meekly Serve My Time’

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    For whatever reason, this story is generating no interest. I have hardly heard it mentioned on radio news and even then it was well down the list of headlines.

    A man has died on hunger-strike after refusing to wear a prison uniform. If it happened in Northern Ireland there would be world headlines and mass protests.

    It happened in Cuba. The man’s name is Orlando Zapata Tamayo. He was an Amnesty prisoner of conscience. A plumber by trade.

    If you want to read more, click here and here and here.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      And to think of all the utterly stupid people who prance about with Palestinian scraves or pictures of Che or Fidel or caps on and seem too stupid and self obsessed to understand what those people are – which is completely separate to the rights and wrongs of Israeli policy on Palestine or US policy on Cuba – anyone deluding themselves that the end of those policies will improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians or Cubans needs to get real.

      The Cubans should pass his body to his family and allow Amnesty to do a post mortem examination – if the claims he was beaten are untrue then they’ve no reason not to.

    • barbera says:

      This sad, sad story of the life and death of a Cuban political prisoner, Orlando Zapata Tamayo (May he rest in the unfathomable Divine Mercy), together with very moving piece, by David Adams today (IT Opinion, 25 February — entitled “The plight of a street drunk offers sobering reminders”) certainly puts our paltry political gripes into perspective. It was Adams’ piece actually that brought tears to my eyes, since it very gently expresses something of such profundity and how a sudden accidental encounter can serve to unexpectedly halt us in our busy stride and turn the mind to less robotic and more human things such as might restore a man’s tender humanity towards his more unfortunate fellow man. Shame on any regime that would foster inhumanity.

    • robespierre says:

      I’ve been following his case for years as a member of Amnesty – ar dheis Dé go raibh anam.

      This is terrible travesty of justice. I would ask that the political junkies that follow this blog take the time to examine his case and a few others like him (Ken Saro Wiwa and Aung San Suu Kyi) and remember how precious our fragile democracy is.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      But sure isn’t Cuba a worker’s paradise? I wonder did Finian McGrath who has been to Cuba and was up for travelling to Colombia for the Colombia 3 take any time out to visit or even inquire into this case?

      I’m sure if you changed the name and country and told Joe Higgins the story, he’d be outraged and rightly so.

    • Ray D says:

      Des seems like a Johnny-come-lately to this man’s case.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @5: actually his case is regularly mentioned on BBC Radio 4 and elsewhere and it takes about 45 seconds to send an email to the Cuban Ambassador – Finian McGrath and Joe Higgins for that matter – to raise his case.

      If enough people had done so …

      We all know Ireland is far from perfect but it insults our intelligence for others to claim places like Cuba are ‘better’.

    • kynos says:

      I’d never heard of this brave man thanks for the steer.

    • Blimey O'Riley says:

      I thought I’d asked the views of the Politerati on this one but it appears to have been lost in the ether…either that ignored…again…so I’ll ask again Political Prisoner or Criminal?

    • Feminsista says:

      The case of the Irishman on hunger strike (happily now resolved) was of course overlooked by the Irish Meejits

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