§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
The Government are very concerned about the jailing of political dissidents in Cuba, and in particular with the sentencing of the four members of the "International Dissidence Working Group" in Havana 1 on 15 March. This group exercised the freedom of 341W expression, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and were held without charge since July 1997. We do not accept that citizens who do so should be criminalised by state authorities.
Together with EU partners and bilaterally (including when Isabel Allende, Cuban Vice Foreign Minister met my noble Friend Baroness Symons on 25 February), we have made representations to Cuban authorities expressing serious concern and deep regret about the sentences. The EU Presidency issued a public statement on 17 March which said it was deeply disappointed that its repeated appeals for the unconditional release of the "Four" have been ignored, and that neither diplomats nor international media representatives were allowed to attend the trial.