A Cuban political prisoner died yesterday after an 85-day hunger strike over alleged beatings and degrading jail conditions....
...Orlando Zapata Tamayo, 42...a former plumber and member of the Alternative Republican Movement National Civic Resistance Committee, was one of 75 activists arrested during the "black spring" of 2003. He was sentenced to three years for contempt, public disorder and "disobedience" but that was increased to 36 years after he was convicted of acts of defiance in prison.
He stopped eating solid foods on December 3 to protest against what he said were repeated beatings by guards and other abuses at Kilo 7 prison in the eastern province of Camagüey. His back was "tattooed with blows" from beatings, according to his mother.
Two weeks ago she reported he was "skin and bones, his stomach is just a hole" and that bedsores covered his legs. He was so gaunt nurses were unable to get intravenous lines for fluids into his arms and used veins on his neck instead.