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Amnesty International Calls for Release of Cuban Prisoners

Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of 71 Cuban dissidents being held in the country's prisons in what the organization says are cruel and inhumane conditions.

In a report published Friday, the London-based human rights organization says any Cuban can be imprisoned for years for cooperating with human rights groups, writing press articles, or contacting U.S. officials. Once incarcerated, the report says the dissidents are likely to face severe abuse by prison guards, as well as inadequate access to medical care.

However, Amnesty International also called for lifting the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. It says the embargo contributes to undermining political rights in the country by giving President Fidel Castro's government a pretext for cracking down on dissent..

The Amnesty International report released Friday coincides with the second anniversary of Cuba's 2003 crackdown on pro-democracy dissidents.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.