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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Journalists Get Rare Look Inside Cuba’s Prisons

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Prisoners look at military guards as they return to their cells at the Combinado del Este prison during a media tour in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Cuban authorities led foreign journalists through the maximum security prison, the largest in the Caribbean country that houses 3,000 prisoners. Cuba says they have 200 prisons across the country, including five that are maximum security. (Franklin Reyes/AP)A military guard observes from a watch tower at the Combinado del Este prison during a media tour in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 9, 2013.  (Franklin Reyes/AP)Three prisoners stand in their cell in the Combinado del Este prison during a media tour in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 9, 2013.  (Franklin Reyes/AP)Prisoners stand in the outdoor patio inside the Combinado del Este prison during a media tour of the prison in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. (Franklin Reyes/AP)A prisoner plays baseball at the Combinado del Este prison, where a mural of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez cover a wall, during a media tour of the prison in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. (Franklin Reyes/AP)

While the hunger strike inside the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay continues, there are separate concerns in other parts of Cuba about conditions at regular prisons.

Cuban prisons are usually closed to outside scrutiny, but foreign journalists were recently allowed through the doors of one prison, for the first time in almost a decade.

The visit comes ahead of a Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford reports that at the entrance to a cell block, the journalists were given paper flowers, handmade by inmates.


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