Within a few days we expect the good news that Yamil is FREE. We are all happy, but wary until the final result.
32 minutes ago: Yamil now has legal representation, who will defend him during this period. Yesterday on our visit we told him the details of this good news.
29 minutes ago: We are content and a little calmer. Yamil’s attorney will ask immediately for a change in his detention status [request house arrest during the appeal]. All we can do is wait…
Havana, October 5, 2010
“Year 52 of the Revolution”
A: Head of Villa Marista
I, Inés María Ramos Nápoles, ID#: 40012108557, resident of No, 119 4th Street between lane 4 between 1st and 3rd. Miramar, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, and mother of a U.S. citizen of Cuban origin Yamil Ramos Domínguez, am writing to ask you, as a mother, that my child be allowed to stay in my legal residence, during their process. [Translator’s note: that is that he be allowed out of prison on bail or personal recognizance.]
Yamil was arrested at the Marina Hemingway international port on October 13, 2007, on his way to Cancun, in his own boat, with all the documentation. On his journey he found that bad weather forced him to pull into that port.
Throughout the process there have been a number of inconsistencies, driving my son to undertake a prolonged hunger strike, whose aim was only that you review the case. As a family, we present the Petition for Review before the Ministry of Justice, also supported by the first vice minister. The People’s Supreme Court (TSP) annulled Yamil’s sentence in its opinion 120/2010 (copy enclosed). [Translator’s note: The Supreme Court voided the conviction weeks ago, but under Cuban law he was not immediately released; the government is searching for “more evidence” to re-convict him, and meanwhile he remains in prison.]
During this entire period, we were forced to pay for our request for an appeal process and review in national currency, as we previously paid for the initial legal service and the first appeal in freely convertible currency. Today I need to contract with the lawyer to ask for a change of precautionary measure [that he be allowed out of prison], but we have no freely convertible currency and we have been refused a contract in national currency.
As a woman, as a Cuban, as a mother, I beg a precautionary measure change for my child, so that he can stay in our home until the end of your process, especially taking into account his personal condition, his family’s character, and the mistakes in the process. At this time there no charges against him, according to Case 120/2010 of the Supreme Court, and it is, thus, not just to continue deprived him of his liberty, when he could stay with his family in Cuba, and taking into account the principle in law: Everyone is assumed innocent until proven otherwise. On the other hand, we fear he will return to the hunger strike if this process is delayed and does not reach closure.
Please, I ask desperately as a mother, I am ill and still suffer from all that has happened to my son. I would like you to personally pay attention to my plea, and to take into account the Judgment in making a determination, as this pronouncement expresses an obvious injustice against Yamil.
Currently my son is in the Carlos J, Finlay State Security Hospital. He is will cared for but his unjust imprisonment continues. Unable to contract for legal services in National Currency to request for a change in his confinement, I turn to you for it. Please hear me. With your approval, Yamil can stay in our home, compensating, to some extent, for the injustice committed against him.
Hoping for your understanding and prompt response.
Inés María Ramos Nápoles
C.C: Council of State.
Posted: October 8, 2010
September 23, 2010
“Year 53 of the Revolution”
To: Department of State Security
By this means, I Yadaimí Dominguez Ramos, a resident of Calle 4 No. 119 between 1st and 3rd, Miramar, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, need to inform you of the situation of my brother Yamil Ramos Domínguez, U.S. citizen, who, after the 120/2010 Judgment of the Supreme People’s Court ruling annulling his sentence, and is still deprived of his liberty pending a reinvestigation.
The delay in the case of Yamil Domínguez, a sui generis case, which ignored all of his civil rights and the Constitution of the Republic, is inadmissible. Behind bars should be those criminals, not those who for political reasons, abuse of power, lack of knowledge of the laws and/or poor interpretation of them and for the worst reasons of a human being — envy — acted in bad faith and in their actions, ridiculed the judicial system and the image of fairness preached by the Cuban State. On 13 October my brother will have served three years of unjust imprisonment. A man who did not impair the security of this country, nor intended to do so. He entered Cuban territorial waters, going directly into an international port, with all documentation in order and under adverse weather conditions, because he cold not avoid it. Furthermore, as stated in his report, the First Deputy Minister of Justice, Yamil offered no danger if you take into account his constant trips to the country, four of them via Cancun, a key issue that should have been considered when confiscating his own boat, which occurred three months before trial. This savagery is significant, because clearly it was the intentions of the Organ of State Security, as it were, to punish Yamil before he even appeared at trial.
From the start of this tragedy, we went to each and every one of the bodies of the country, and most often to the Ministry of the Interior, but only found deaf ears, which at that moment could have prevented things from reaching this point, compromising the prestige of the judicial system. Excellent work has been done by the Ministry of Justice, following the present Request for Review of the case, particularly the report of the First Deputy Minister, to promote such review. Also worth mentioning the work of the Criminal Division of the Supreme People’s Court in Case 120/2010.< Today Yamil Domínguez remains in the hospital ward of the Military Security Carlos J. Finlay, after a hunger strike that lasted 107 days and which he was forced to take in the face of the silence and the nerve of all those responsible for the unjust imprisonment, and the cynicism of those who attended our claim, without flinching before the obvious injustice. He suspended his strike only when he began to see the first steps of the desired Justice in the aforementioned report of the first deputy minister. Yamil still continues today in prison, while the Ministry of Interior seeks and tries to glean some information which may destroy his innocence. We fear that he may begin again to reject food, given that according Judgment 120/2010 the charges against him were to be dropped but he has had to remain in prison, deprived of all his rights, when he should at least be on our home until the end of the court process. When a family continues down the path without tiring, exhausting each and every one of the domestic courts, when deciding to make public internationally the vile fact, when a young person is forced to undertake three hunger strikes, on the final one deciding to go all the way, then the least we deserve is respect and, on the basis of this, that the case be decided on its merits. Yamil is an educated man, honest, principled and with values, which has earned him the admiration of those who have had the opportunity to meet him. Others, who do not know him directly, also appreciate his personality and conviction, and have offered to fight from their position, for truth and justice. This case has been politicized from the beginning and manipulated in the court, where we never imagined that the fraud and lies would get so out of hand. Now the Supreme Court gave the opportunity to the Ministry of Interior to “solve” what should have been done three years ago. Hopefully those in charge of the case will not make the same mistakes as those made from the first, and will recognize the flagrant injustice that was committed against Jamil and, consequently, his family and thereby clean up the image of the organization they represent. Our great thinker, José Martí, said, “Give in to justice and the unjust will just fall away.” From such a beautiful thought, we can say that Yamil will recover his freedom and all that he was forced to lose, but it is necessary to hurry because time is the only thing that he will never recover. We only hope that a wide investigation would lead to the conviction of the unforgivable mistakes of the perpetrators of such hideous injustice, while a good man continued to be deprived of the beauty of life. The extended time will only serve to distort the truth and fall into the same vacuum and fraud already incurred over this entire time. Yamil is not alone. Thousands of people are with him. The more his imprisonment is prolonged, the more people will join us. Today we have the valuable opinion of the People’s Supreme Court, aided by the Ministry of Justice. The TRUTH is one and is with us. “In justice allow no delay: whatever impedes its completion, turns against itself.” José Martí. Yadaimí Domínguez Ramos. Originally posted October 6, 2010
HONOR TO HIM WHO DESERVES IT
Wilfredo Vallín Almeida, 27 September 2010, La Víbora, Havana
Since launching this section, The Consultation in the Digital Spring, we have received a great number of communications in different ways. Many of them from people with different types of problems: from a housing issue to police harassment, from threats based on gender to people condemned to twenty or thirty year sentences for both common and political reasons.
The sad — and unusual — thing is that often the problems are created because they were given the wrong advice from the legal standpoint by… the authorities of this country. And, in these authorities we include the police all the way to the courts and even higher.
Furthermore, we are showered with questions that are also very different. We try to help in specific cases of legal problems and to answer questions, always in accordance with our knowledge and the legal information at our disposal, both of which don’t always cover the entire spectrum of the inquiries.
In this situation, the great majority of problems that come to us are that, PROBLEMS. Thus, they represent, to us, a great satisfaction when we what we can communicate is not a problem but a SOLUTION that can be given to… the appropriate authorities.
For more than a year, in this same column, we have published a case titled “It Being Proved That.” I am going to reproduce a brief fragment of this to set the stage for the reader.
“…I have before me a copy of the record of Yamil Domínguez Ramos, U.S. citizen (Cuban law does not accept double citizenship), with the Sentence No. 3 of 13 January 2009 of the Supreme Court, that was sent to me by his family and where his appeal for a violation of the law and the ratification of his ten-year sentence was dismissed, and if you read carefully the entire history of this case… it is far from being absolutely clear that anything was ‘proven’.”
Before our involvement, and in a supportive action that we had not seen before, a large group of people within civil society decided to help Yamil and his family and started a beautiful campaign for his release, added to which was a brave hunger strike launched by he himself, leading eventually to a letter from the First Vice-Minister of Justice directed to the appropriate court.
To our immense satisfaction, the letter is completely in line with our own appraisal of the case and does proper justice to the case of Yamil Domínguez. Given this case, we were sure that the courts involved would review the investigative phase of the case, to the benefit of, and justice for, the accused.
It’s possible that we do not agree ideologically with the First Vice Minister of Justice, but in the same way that we bitterly criticized this entire unjust and arbitrary action on the part of the authorities, it is also our duty to acknowledge every just act on their part, and with regards to the First Vice Minister, we do so in this case.
Honor to him who deserves it, as we were taught by the greatest of all Cubans.
With regards to the person of this Vice Minister we offer our acknowledgment for her civic valor and her actions upholding the law. It is an example of what we always ask from the authorities: to act in strictest conformance with the law, without distinction with regards to persons, because we are all equal under the law according the Constitution of the Nation.
And for Yamil, his family and all who desire good (because this is a formidable young Cuban), and who are delighted, our congratulations for your happiness, which is also ours.
October 10, 2010
Stand by for more news.
Here is a link to the blog in Spanish with the court ruling.
As of now — midday on 22 September — Yamil remains in prison.
September 22, 2010
From the translator:
As there have been no posts on this blog for quite a while, I have chosen to update it by copying recent posts on Twitter from Yamil’s family. Following are two “tweets” from today:
# Yamil Domínguez InjustNotoria
Ayer visitamos a Yamil, él se recupera notablemente, pero su streé aumenta cada día más.
Yesterday we visited Yamil, he is recuperating well, but his stress grows every day.
# Yamil Domínguez InjustNotoria
No tenemos ninguna noticia, ni ningún resultado. Estamos desesperados por tanta demora. Yamil tiene que ser LIBRE lo antes posible.
We have no news, nor any results. We are desperate due to so much delay. Yamil has to be FREE as soon as possible.
September 8, 2010
Written by: Yadaimí Domínguez
On August 10, the hearing was held before the Supreme Court to review the Appeal brought by our family and promoted by the First Vice Minister of Justice.
When the doors of the courtroom opened, we family and friends who had been waiting an hour for this tense moment began to enter; the prosecutor was waiting standing on the left side. He wanted to hide his face due to nerves, but it was very difficult to hide.
The lawyer standing on the right side of the room took her seat. Although slightly nervous before a public that awaited her best presentation, but she felt very safe and confident, knowing she has the TRUTH, that just one more time needed to be exposed in order the achieve, everything that was depending on her: long-delayed justice.
The judges entered, took their respective seats, and started the Hearing. The prosecutor was exceedingly lax in his presentation. Among the atrocities he mentioned was that, “if Yamil intended to travel to Cancun, he had to prove that objective.” He also questioned the opinion of the Minister of Justice, in supporting the Appeal of a Case which apparently had no new elements.
I don’t have enough time to delve into each one of the barbarities uttered by this phenomenon but I will comment briefly on the two I just mentioned. About the first, it’s obvious that if Yamil was going to Cancun, he didn’t owe anyone a reason. Anyone who doubts this, would have to prove otherwise. Innocence is presumed under the law and the prosecutor has to demonstrate guilt through OBJECTIVE elements, and before an impartial court, with all the guarantees for the defense. Of course, the attorney, in her conclusions, made this very clear.
With respect to the second idiocy of the prosecutor that I mention in this post, it is clear that he pretended not to fully know Article 456 of Law 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act, or underestimated the level of knowledge of the laws on the part of the audience, or what is even worse, lacked the professional ethics and respect for the opinion of the First Vice-minister of Justice. Gentlemen, it is precisely the Causal 10 of Article 456 of Law 5, which constituted one of the precepts that led to the Review, saying that the Court had all the evidence that indicated the innocence of the accused and inexplicably, did not reflect it in his sentence, and in consequence the sentence was unjust. What new elements is the prosecutor talking about, if it is already in the causal record it doesn’t necessarily have to be new elements, because those there from the beginning were clearly visible and those the court ruled on, were they omitted in their opinion?
The defense again made a brilliant argument. She explained the technical issues of the operation of the GPA and dared to say, very respectfully, that there was tampering with regards to the expert witness who appeared at the trial on March 19, 2008. She also explained about the two weather reports, claiming that No. 31, produced by the instructor, corresponded to the Department of Forecasts; while Report No. 42 was issued by the Department of State of the Sea of the Meteorological Institute of Cuba. She made it clear that Yamil is innocent because even if he had entered the country illegally, the state of necessity of arriving at an international port, under circumstances that put his life in danger (bad weather) and which he couldn’t avoid, exonerated him from any criminal responsibility, according to Articles 22.1 and 215.2 of Law 62 (Penal Code).
Hopefully soon the Notorious Injustice of my brother’s case will be buried with the just opinion that will be issued by the 5 judges of the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court, who participated in this review and who have the privilege of amending a judicial error, which should not have happened, much less been prolonged.
August 11, 2010
Link to Spanish post with the other pages of the documents.
This post is entirely made up of the images of an 8-page report plus an order for a hearing on Yamil’s case within ten days. It is doubtful we can find someone to translate this, but briefly, it appears to be VERY GOOD NEWS. As a result, Yamil has partially abandoned his hunger strike and is eating yogurt, as reported on his Twitter account here. It is not the nature of our translation project to express our own opinions in other people’s blogs, but in this case… it’s time to break the rules: Hopefully, Yamil will soon be a free man!
Havana, April 26, 2010
“Year 52 of the Revolution.”
To: Director Maria Esther Reus Gonzalez
Minister of Justice
I, Ines Ramos Napoles, resident of Calle 4, number 119, between 1st and 3rd Playa, Havana, with ID Number 40012108557, in the name of my son, my family and myself, request the URGENT REVIEW of case No. 11/2008 of the Second Criminal Chamber of the People’s Provincial Tribunal of Havana. where Yamil Dominguez Ramos was sentenced to ten years in prison for the crime of trafficking in persons.
Yamil has always declared that he is innocent of these charges. To the court if was enough to judge him based on the initial declaration of Marleny Gonzalez Rodriguez, previously manipulated by an official of State Security, and so to find him guilty and not by virtue of an oral judgment, a declaration that had already been thrown out of court in a previous motion, showing clearly that it had been gotten from his wife under pressure, by telling her that it would benefit her husband.
We appeal for an annulment of the sentence. The Supreme Court overturned the ruling of the lower court and ordered a reconsideration and drafting of a new ruling eradicating the defects identified. (Attached is a copy of the Ruling No. 2929/2008 of the People’s Supreme Court).
However, on returning to the actions referred to the Provincial Court, with a change of date, roll number, and typography of the letter, it drafted the ruling in the same terms as the first and with the same errors. However, when we brought back the Appeal for an Annulment to the Supreme Court, far from questioning the role of the judges sanction by the court in the first place, for having ignored the order given, we found to our sad surprise that this time the Supreme Court, with other judges, ratified the second ruling of the Provincial Court. From then my son has served a sentence for a crime he did not commit. The process of review through an attorney cost us 500.00 CUC that we do not have. So today I am preparing this report to ask for a review of the case and with it, that JUSTICE be done. The decision is urgent, more so when Yamil, in claiming his civil rights which he was cruelly stripped of, has been on a hunger strike since April 14.
To continue, we explain the reasons that Yamil should not have been sentenced and deprived of his liberty:
First: Yamil has no need to traffic in human beings. He is a worker and a good father to his family. He emigrated legally to the United States of America on 7 December 2000, with his second wife and his two younger daughters. When he arrived in that country he worked hard to get ahead. First in a construction company, while studying for a university degree, with the objective, through his own efforts, of owning his own company. This allowed him to be successful financially. From the point of view of economics and finance, I repeat, my son Yamil has no need to traffic in persons.
Second:Yamil had no reason to take his family illegally out of the country. In February 2005, I went to the United States of America which he arranged. In September 2007, my sister and I had a passport visa and in October we received the letter of invitation to return on a visit to the United States, scheduled for the end of the year. In August of that year his elder daughter, from his first marriage, who was 13 at the time, was reunited with him, which he also arranged. By the way, since October 13, 2007, she has been without the protection of both of her parents, because her mother lives in Cuba. From August 24, 2007, he had from the U.S. Department of State, the paperwork for the visa process for Marleny Gonzalez Rodriguez, a visa that would allow his current wife to travel with her son to be reunited with him, so there was no reason to look for illegal means, let me repeat that the visa was already authorized for his current wife from the date previously mentioned and the file is open at the U.S. Interest Section until Yamil’s situation is resolved.
Third: My son has no need to enter this country illegally. He has visited Cuba seven times, four of them through Cancun. At 8:00 in the morning on October 13, according to what he told me on the phone on the 10th, he headed to Cancun on his own boat to participate in a marine event and then was planning to fly to Havana, carrying in his luggage 54 music CDs, a video camera, $1,900 U.S., the documentation for his oat and his passport in order, including the Cuban passport visa good until 2010. Due to two storms on the open sea (the Meteorological Institute of Cuba has confirmed these storms as actually occurring and not merely forecasts as written in the ruling) he sought assistance to enter the International Port at the Marina Hemingway. This was the only reason he approached the Cuban coast.
Yamil was forced into the nearest port by force majeure, which is allowed under international standards of navigation and, although he was not able to give prior notice of his arrival, Article 215, Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code Act 62, exonerates him from criminal responsibility. On the other hand, every crime must be duly proved, as the sanctioning Board should not rely on the initial testimony of Marleny (his wife), which contrasts with that made Yamil and without a shred of evidence to support it, the reason that the Supreme Court in Case No.2929 signals the trial court; besides, my daughter-in-law accused, prior to the trial, the official of manipulating her and inciting her to declare false testimony, which she stated in oral testimony where she told the reality of the process, as well as the legal paperwork for the fiancée visa with which she could travel along with her son and that, as said before, the court omitted in its ruling, but that should be taken as documentary proof and that I am attaching in the form of a certified copy of this document.
If Yamil really intended to pick up Marleny in the area of La Puntilla (coastal zone separated from the Havana seawall at the mouth of the river Almendares) and, if Marleny really was in that place, why didn’t he do so, if the boat was in perfect physical condition, with two GPS receivers to inform him of his position and the distances of the Cuban boats, with sufficient fuel to get to Cancun or return to the United States? Yamil entered Cuban waters in the area of Habana del Este and traveling west, a mile from the coast, headed toward the Hemingway Marina International Port, being spotted by the Coast Guard ship around the Hotel Triton, where with his engines off he awaited the arrival of the Coast Guard and they escorted him to the international port, an action that corresponds to the testimony of the witness who escorted him. The route followed infers that my son passed through the area where supposedly Marleny was waiting but never came to pick her up. This act shows, without any doubt, that Yamil never had the intention to illegally pick up Marleny.
Fourth: The decision made by the disciplinary tribunal has ERRED IN THE LAW by stating that the participation of Yamil in these events is “proven,” and considering my son an intentional action of the crime of TRAFFICKING PERSONS , sanctioned in Article 348, Subsections 1 and 2, of the Criminal Case, which no doubt has influenced the decision handed down, punishing him with ten years’ imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. On the other hand, the sentence is not consistent with the evidence presented during the trail that might have influence on the verdict.From reading the narrative of events, recorded in the proven evidence of the sentence, it is not possible to understand precisely and clearly, what is the profit motive that is present in the actions allegedly undertaken by my son, or allegedly taken for him? It is evident that if true the argument that seeks to be substantiated in the sentence, such actions would be motivated exclusively by purely sentimental reasons and family reunification, particularly that the tribunal admitted as true in the fifth paragraph of the judgment in question where it says, “…the accused only intended to smuggle out of Cuba his fiancee and sin, not other people, nor did he have any interests other than sentimental and impressionable because he also endangered his own life…”If this is true as stated, I can assert that the facts, reported in the proven evidence, do not meet the legal significance required by the legislature to charge someone with the crime of trafficking, as erroneously charged. In the facts related and the proven evidence for which my son was punished, the element of criminality is not present, perhaps the most important for this offense which is “THE PROFIT MOTIVE.” In the Judgment No.476 of January 17, 2001, issued by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme People’s Court, published in the pages of the 50 to 58, the Bulletin for the year 2001, the Supreme Judicial Body, ratifying such an approach by saying: “… Traffic in Persons (Art. 347.2 and 348.1 in relation to Articles 9.1.2 and 12.1 of the Criminal Code). The criminal provisions of Article 347.2 of the Penal Code has a body and life itself, its wording is clear and is violated by those who, “without being permitted to do so, motivated by profit, organize or promote the exit of the country people within it to third countries …. ” This ruling itself admits that in classifying this type of crime it can be omitted, including undertaking this kind of effort with no motive to profit, and one of the recitals says: “… assume the specific activities endorsed in these types, which do not fit any association or linkage of people who are in the country with others who are in other countries and vice versa, and much less when engaged in the Trafficking in Persons in violation of immigration regulations, or dedication does not exist, these activities are motivated by profit, because when there is such a connection and purpose with which we participate is to obtain economic benefit or personal gain of any kind, reflecting the broad sense that this term has , the conduct falls within the normal offense against the Immigration …. ” These fragments I have quoted illustrate the error of law committed by the Second Chamber and the Supreme Court in Case No. 2929/2008. From the above I consider that, based on the facts of the ruling of the Second Chamber of the Provincial Tribunal of Havana as “tested” the correct legal description could be then UNLAWFUL ENTRY IN THE NATIONAL TERRITORY. Such a misunderstanding of the Board is of extraordinary significance to the extent of the penalty that was applied (Ten years of imprisonment), for the crime described by the Board, even when made use of the 239 Agreement by the Governing Council of the Supreme Court, has a penalty under twenty to thirty years imprisonment or life imprisonment, while the crime allegedly committed by my son, is a framework of penalties of one to three years imprisonment or a fine of three hundred thousand shares. The adoption of the legal qualification I suggest, on the facts “proven” in the sentence, would bring an invaluable benefit for my son, who, besides being an honorable person, has no criminal record either in Cuba or the United States, and with appropriate consideration of his social and moral behavior there would be a substantial change in the length of the sentence, which would already have been served as he has been in custody for two years and eight months.
However, Yamil Dominguez should not spend even one more minute dispossessed of that which has no price, his freedom, and much less for a crime he did not commit. In addition to being a man of excellent hum qualities, of revolutionary origin, without a criminal record, and even were all the elements declared in the sentence to be “proven” were true, in our Penal Code Article 13.1 it is not punishable when a subject spontaneously avoids the criminal act. From the above it follows that if his intention had been to illegally collect his wife and son, he abandoned, by his own will, that act, and never even entered the area where they supposedly were waiting for him.
In hopes that the truth will win out and an error in the Justice will be amended, before the effects are worse for Yamil Dominguez and, in consequence, for his family.
Inés María Ramos Nápoles mother of Yamil Domínguez, and other relatives.
“In justice there can be no delay: and he that interferes with its fulfillment, turns it against himself.”
José Martí. (Complete works, volume 13, pág.320)
Copy of the Ruling No. 2929/2008 of the People’s Supreme Court
Copy of the notarized document from the United States Interest Section in Havana attesting to a visa for Marleny Gonzalez and her son.
Copies of the Letters of Invitation from Inés María Ramos Nápoles and Migdalia Nery Ramos Nápoles.
CC: Council of State