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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cuban prisoner of conscience tortured for years died six years ago today

"October 20, 2003 [Orlando Zapata] was dragged along the floor of Combinado del Este Prison by prison officials after requesting medical attention, leaving his back full of lacerations." - Amnesty International, January 25, 2004

Orlando Zapata Tamayo, May 15, 1967 – February 23, 2010
On February 23, 2010 Cuban human rights defender and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo was extra-judicially executed by agents of the Cuban dictatorship after years of torture.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo had gathered signatures for the Varela Project and was a human rights defender. Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas had campaigned to save the life of Orlando Zapata making a plea over Spanish television for his life and months beforehand recording a plea from Orlando's mom for her son. 

Sadly, this was the start of a deadly trend that claimed the lives of several human rights defenders including Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas who was killed on July 22, 2012 along with youth leader Harold Cepero. Oswaldo had held up a photo of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and denounced the torture and murder of the Afro-Cuban human rights defender.

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas holds up image of Orlando Zapata Tamayo
Orlando Zapata Tamayo was unjustly imprisoned and tortured into an early grave by agents of the Castro regime, dying at the age of 42. What were you doing when Orlando was killed six years ago today in Cuba?

Please share your recollections in the comments section below.

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