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Saturday, December 03, 2022

Six months after protests, Cuba prosecutes protesters

HAVANA ( Associated Press) — Six months after surprise protests against the Cuban government, activists and relatives of jailed people said 57 protesters would be prosecuted this week and could face up to 30 years in prison for treason.

The authorities’ decisions to prosecute those who took part in the July 11 and 12 mobilizations – which killed one and destroyed businesses and vehicles – were criticized by other countries and opponents.

Although an official number of detainees was never given, in August officials from the People’s Supreme Court indicated that 23 summary trials had been conducted on 67 minor charges – such as public disorder – and assured that the investigation would continue.

Since then, normal procedures have been formalized for the most serious charges, such as treason, according to Associated Press Salome García, one of the members of Justicia 11J, a group with members in Cuba and abroad, which conducts a systematic survey of detainees. , has been explained. and monitoring of families.

Since July, the organization has recorded 1,334 incarcerations, 223 sentenced in ordinary trials and another 231 awaiting their day in court with civil tax petitions. Some 98 were fined and nine were sacked.

Of the detainees, the group said, there are 48 under the age of 18—the age 16—for legal responsibility on the island, many of whom were later released.

Three mass trials were scheduled for this week in similar cities across the country, the Associated Press confirmed in conversations with relatives of prisoners: Santa Clara with 16 defendants, Havana with 20 and Holguin with 21. Although the profession of some among them, the protesters are artists, activists, a state worker, independent activists and students.

“The trial should go on for three or four days,” Roxana Garcia told the Associated Press in a telephone conversation, which has no relation to Justina 11J member and sister of 24-year-old Andy Dunier Garcia, for whom the Santa Clara City Public Ministry Is. Demanded seven years imprisonment for public disorder, assault and contempt.

“They give us confidence that justice is going to happen,” lamented the woman, indicating that although the lawyer is “doing a good job” and the prosecutor’s office is “the same police officers who beat them up” the only witness. As in, the process continued. “These decisions come from above,” he said.

In Havana, Yaquelin Cruz also confirmed to the Associated Press the start of a court session in the mass case that finds her 20-year-old son, Daryl Cruz, subject to a 15-year sentence for the offense of treason. , ie. Attempt to overthrow a legitimate government. The woman indicated that the young man had recently been stabbed in prison.

Several relatives interviewed in the three cities said they were told that only one relative per defendant would be allowed into the courtroom.

An Associated Press request for comment from Cuban officials was not immediately returned.

For its part, the Justice 11J organization’s listing revealed that there are people in Holguin for whom 30 years in prison have been requested.

Cuba had July crowds for the first time in decades because of their magnitude and in some cases violence against shops or private vehicles. The protesters’ demands were so varied that they ranged from a change in government to the end of power cuts or an immediate solution to the shortage of food and medicine amid the worst economic crisis on the island caused by the United States. Restrictions, lack of productivity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protest did not have a clear lead and spread through social networks. Officials recognized that some of the claims were reasonable, but condemned the use of the Internet to promote mobilization by protest and interest groups, particularly those backed by the United States.

The Joe Biden government reacted in the opposite direction of its campaign by imposing more restrictions on Havana, promising to seek flexibility.

Other demonstrations called on 15 November did not receive the wide support expected by their organisers.

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Andrea Rodriguez is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP

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