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ICYMI: Rubio Remembers the Plight of Political Prisoners

Dec 20, 2022 | Press Releases

This Christmas, Remember the Plight of Political Prisoners
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
December 20, 2022

[S]ince July 11, 2021, when Cubans across the island rose up to protest the regime with cries of “Patria y Vida” (“country and life”), [puppet dictator Miguel Díaz-Canel] has been tightening his grip. Today, the Cuban “authorities” hold more than 1,000 political prisoners, including at least 45 minors — and they are arresting dozens more every month….
In Venezuela, high-level outreach and concessions from the Biden Administration have emboldened Nicolás Maduro and his cronies. The narco-regime has imprisoned political dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, and even American citizens, including Eyvin Hernandez, Jerrel Kenemore, and two Army veterans, Airan Berry and Luke Denman.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and his wife have rounded up anyone who remotely opposes their totalitarian rule, from civil society groups to the independent press to all seven of Ortega’s challengers in the sham 2021 presidential election. They have also increased their senseless persecution of the Catholic Church….
Vladimir Putin’s Russia holds over 300 political prisoners. Kim Jong-un’s North Korea holds as many as 120,000. Meanwhile, the Iranian Ayatollah has put thousands of his own citizens on death row, many of whom are only guilty of “insulting the supreme leader” or participating in anti-regime protests.
Worst of all, however, is the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing captures and “re-educates” everyone who poses a threat to its unlimited claim to authority. This amounts to genocide in Xinjiang…. Ilham Tohti, Gulshan Abbas, and Ekpar Asat are among the many Uyghurs whom the Party has detained to intimidate family members in America speaking out against the genocide.
These regimes have also detained American citizens. Brittney Griner may be free, but Paul Whelan, Marc Fogel, Siamak Namazi, Kai Lai, Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, Theary Sang, and dozens of others remain captive. Unfortunately, the more this administration sends the message that holding Americans hostage is an effective way for our adversaries to get what they want, the more innocent people may find themselves in a foreign prison.
This is not to say the U.S. should leave its citizens behind. We can and should devote more resources and energy to achieving their freedom, as my Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-taking Accountability Act directs us to do…. We also must continue to shed light on the plight of political prisoners worldwide…by passing the Rubio-Coons bill to establish an annual National Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day.
Finally, we should always hold political prisoners in our prayers. This Christmas, may God have mercy on those unjustly detained by evil regimes, and may He give strength to their loved ones.

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