23 NOVEMBER 1962, Page 10

Dr. Castro's Prisons

I should like to think that all those in this country who have not yet had their eyes opened as to some of the less pleasing character- istics of the present Cuban regime would read Cuba and the Rule of Law, a report just issued by the International Commission of Jurists. Its conclusions include such items as the subjection to torture of those accused before the Cuban revolutionary courts, the faking of evidence by the prosecution and the persecution of defence witnesses and lawyers. In the prisons there is mental and physical ill-treatment, 'inhuman disciplinary penalties', complete lack of hygiene and adequate medical care, the simulation of executions for the purpose of terrifying other prisoners. Some of the detailed stories of wit- nesses are harrowing. In them appear women who go mad in prison or whose babies are still- born because of ill-treatment at the hands of the militia, young men sending last messages before their execution, visiting relatives bullyragged and humiliated by prison guards—Dr. Castro's police seems to have specialised in the humiliation of

women. The tale is a long and familiar one—I seem to remember reading it of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, South Africa, of numerous other countries where the rule of law has been set aside, and it is rather interesting to speculate why these facts have not been ascertained by the British press, which, after all, had the same sources of information open to it as were avail- able to the Commission.