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Cuban dissident who died after police beating buried

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HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto was buried Sunday amid opposition charges a police beating last week led to his death.

Some 80 people attended Soto’s funeral in the city of Santa Clara, including a number of prominent dissidents, according to witnesses at the scene. No incidents were reported.

Soto, 46, was beaten and detained by police during a protest Thursday in Santa Clara, according to prominent opposition blogger Yoani Sanches and other dissidents.

Soto, who suffered from diabetes, hypertension and other health problems, was quickly released but then checked into the Arnaldo Milian Hospital where he died early Sunday morning.

The government has not commented on Soto’s death.

Various bloggers close to the government quoted Dr. Ruben Aneiro Medina of the hospital as saying Soto died of pancreatitis and kidney failure and there were no signs of physical violence.

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Soto was a member of a little-known opposition group in Santa Clara, 275 kilometers (171 miles) east of Havana, and had served 12 years behind bars as a political prisoner.

Elizardo Sanchez of the independent Cuban Commission of Human Rights said the police beating caused his death.

“There is no question that there is a relationship between cause and effect, between the beating he received Thursday at the hands of the police and his death,” Sanchez told Reuters.

Sanchez demanded an open investigation of the case and said police were becoming increasingly brutal in their handling of dissent.

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Soto’s death follows that of imprisoned dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo last year, which touched off an international firestorm of criticism over Cuba’s repression of dissent.

Zapata, who was 42 and serving a 36-year sentence for various convictions, died on February 23, 2010, after an 85-day hunger strike over demands for better prison conditions.

Three months later, President Raul Castro met with Cuban Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega and agreed to release 52 political prisoners in an accord made public in July.

Since then more than a hundred prisoners have been let go, most into exile in Spain.

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Havana says that dissidents are mercenaries organized and funded by its longtime foe, the United States.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

Source: Reuters US Online Report World News

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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QAnon authors in a fight over doing an audiobook — because they think their followers can’t read

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the authors of a popular book for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are in a bitter fight over whether or not to release an audiobook version.

QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening came out last year and peaked near the top of the Amazon bestseller list in March. One of the book's co-authors, Dustin Nemos, is publicly attacking another co-author, who goes by the name of "JoeM," for his "petty and hostile and paranoid" refusal to help produce an audiobook, and notes that it is necessary because a disproportionate number of QAnon believers are elderly, have bad eyesight, and may not be able to read the book as text. JoeM, for his part, has accused Nemos of being a "grifter" who is trying to make a buck off of true believers.

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Missouri governor appoints judge who fundraised for crisis pregnancy center to help decide Planned Parenthood’s license

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On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO) has appointed former Macon County Associate Circuit Judge Philip Prewitt to the Administrative Hearing Commission, a state agency that oversees disputes between the state and organizations seeking licensure.

Prewitt, a former Republican candidate for office, once fundraised on Facebook for Ray of Hope Pregnancy Care Ministeries, a "crisis pregnancy center" that masquerades as a health care facility in order to trick women seeking abortions into listening to anti-abortion propaganda. In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court reprimanded Prewitt for the post encouraging people to donate, saying that it violated judicial ethics rules.

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Trump being a ‘compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus’ is why he failed on Iran: Conservative columnist

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President Donald Trump's highly-criticized decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has resulted as was warned, with the country reviving its nuclear program, a conservative columnist explained in The Washington Post on Monday.

Conservative Max Boot took a victory lap in the hard-hitting column, reminding that he had signed a March 2016 letter by 121 Republican foreign policy analysts warning about Trump's approach.

"I wish we had been wrong, but we were all too right," Boot wrote.

"Trump has shown no ability to grow in office; but then it’s hard to learn if you all you read is Fox News chyrons. He is today the same compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus he was at the start of the 2016 campaign," Boot said. "Only now, the stakes are much higher."

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