After the death of Cuban dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto, Minister of State Werner Hoyer today issued the following statement:
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Juan Wilfredo Soto and would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to his next of kin.
The German Government urges the Cuban Government to investigate and clarify the circumstances that led to the death of Juan Wilfredo Soto. Reports on the maltreatment of Mr Soto by Cuban police officers stands in sharp contrast to the positive signal sent out by the release of political prisoners during recent months and may thwart the related hope for a fundamental improvement of the human rights situation in Cuba.”
The Cuban dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto died on Sunday in his hometown of Santa Clara. The opposition claims he was beaten up by the police in a public park. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights linked Mr Soto’s death directly to the violence used by the police.
According toGuillermo Fariñas, recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, his co-worker Juan Wilfredo Soto suffered from a number of chronic conditions. As a result of his critical stance towards the Cuban Government Mr Soto had spent twelve years in detention.