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Juan Wilfredo Soto, Cuban dissident, dies after detention

He was allegedly beaten by police days earlier.

Cuba 2011 5 9Enlarge
Cubans ride a Cuban bus in front of a billboard of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, reading: "Without revolution, it would have not even been possible to dream," in Havana, on February 23, 2008. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

A Cuban dissident, Juan Wilfredo Soto, died Sunday, days after allegedly being beaten by police and detained.

Three days before he died, Soto, 46, was beaten by police while being arrested in a park and then detained, human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez told AFP.

"There is not the slightest doubt that there was a cause and effect, and that Soto's death was related to the beating he was given," another dissident, Guillermo Farinas, said.

Soto died in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara. An official at the Arnaldo Milian Hospital told CNN that Soto died of pancreatitis.

About 80 people, including other prominent dissidents, attended his funeral Sunday, Reuters reports.

Anti-government activist Lizet Zamora told CNN she saw the beating of Soto on a cell phone.

Soto had previously served 12 years behind bars as a political dissident.

President Raul Castro said in April that dissidents are not welcome in Cuba.

"If we do not do something, so that the government changes its stand toward peaceful protestors, we are going to be reporting even more deaths," Farinas told AFP.

The Cuban government did not comment on the death.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/cuba/110509/juan-wilfredo-soto-cuba-dissident-dead