14ymedio, Cardenas, 31 October 2014 – A strong State Security operation on Thursday prevented activists and independent journalists from attending a trial held at the Cardenas Municipal Court at 2:00 PM against five young people who installed an extensive Wi-Fi network in this town, according to a report to 14ymedio from independent journalist Leticia Ramos, who was expelled from the court and briefly detained.
The defendants, who were no older than 30, had been the object of a complaint by the Cuban Radio Company. They are accused of illegal economic activity, a crime under Article 228.1 of the Penal Code, facing a sentence of three months to one year imprisonment. If the aggravating circumstance of use of materials or means of illicit origin is proved, the sanction is one to three years imprisonment, in addition to confiscation of the property involved.
The prosecutor couldn’t prove that “any of the servers were stolen or had entered the country illegally,” a person who didn’t want their name published told 14ymedio.
The case had already been announced in the local paper Girón last 26 June, when there was great anticipation to know the results.
The defendants were arrested during an impressive police operation last June, when the network that received audiovisuals over the Internet and distributed them through a wireless network was dismantled.
At that time, Girón reported that an individual “behind the façade of a ham radio operator, installed several antennas in his home.” The official media report warned that this type of action fostered “the circulation and consumption of alienating audiovisual materials.”
Several people were caught taking notes and were expelled from the court. Sources close to the families of the accused reported that the prosecutor asked for high fines and the permanent confiscation of all the materials seized.
The trial concluded pending sentencing, with the expectation that the accused will receive communications about their sentences in the next few days.