New Challenge for the Cuban Judicial System. Documents from the Trial against Angel Santiesteban

Requested review of the trial against the dissident writer Angel Santiesteban Prats, we make available the documents from the same.

At a month after the presentation of the review of the trial against Angel Santiesteban Prats, last July 4, not only has no judicial reply been received about it, but, as is already public knowledge, on August 2 he was moved for the second time, in an illegal manner from the 1580 prison to an unknown location until day 7, on which even if his whereabouts were known, he continues incommunicado, with no right to calls or visits. 

Angel Santiesteban Prats finishes five months in prison, sentenced in a judicial farce prepared by the political police of president Raul Castro with the clear objective of silencing one of the few intellectuals of international stature who has decided to lift his voice, his active journalism and literature in order to denounce the dictatorial situation prevailing on the island from his blog The Children that No One Wanted.

Crimes that were not proved because he did not commit them, false witnesses used on the part of the accuser, refusal to accept testimony that demonstrates the innocence of the accused, scandalous links among the political police and the judicial organs that violate the separation of powers, and juridical irregularities throughout the process, have been the reasons put forward by those charged with defending the writer in order to interpose the judicial review fulfilling all the elements set by existing law.

This is a new challenge for Cuban justice which — as the case of Angel Santiesteban Prats itself demonstrates, and as has been denounced by many opponents over the last ten years — is a system bound by the political and ideological interests of the government.

In this case, in a method that is a systematic practice against the opposition on the island, the Cuban government tries to publicly discredit another dissident.  This is not the first time that the tactic is used to portray important writers as “mediocre writers,” “drunk losers,” “trashy journalists,” and other derogatory labels (remember the cases of the poets and journalists Raul Rivero, Manuel Vazquez Portal and Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso, sentenced in the so-called “Black Spring of 2003″).

Now they criminalize, accusing Angel Santiesteban Prats of a common crime of family violence, a writer well respected by the intellectual and artistic classes of his country and of other nations.  The objective is very clear: detract validity from the force and reach of his international denunciations about the human rights violations that this regime commits every day against Cuban citizens.  One of the most shameful links in this strategy, as the writer himself denounced on his blog before entering prison, is the fact that the sanction was communicated by an official of the political police, weeks before the tribunal gave its verdict. 

Since he was thrown behind bars, on February 28, from the La Lima prison, from an open regime that corresponds to his sentences, the writer has not stopped his denunciations.  When at the beginning of April the Cuban government selected a group of the best jails to show to a Commission of National and Foreign Journalists, in a visit preceding the Report that Cuba had to present to the UN”s Commission on Human Rights in the month of May, Santiesteban Prats was moved in a violent and illegal manner to another maximum severity prison in order to isolate him from any possible contact with said Commission.

In the Petition for Review presented officially in July, the lawyer, Amelia Rodriguez Cala, analyzes exhaustively all the violations and judicial irregularities committed during the prior trial, which sentenced the writer to five years for supposed crimes in spite of the extenuating legalities that according to Cuban law only permit imposition of sentences of fines or a year of deprivation of liberty.  In addition, new elements that demonstrate the innocence of the writer are provided in the File of the Petition for Review.

The complete story of this crude maneuver that the Havana regime carried out in order to silence an intellectual that made it uncomfortable, is summarized by Amir Valle, another prize-winning Cuban author who suffers exile in Germany, on his blog A título personal (Personal Capacity) and can be read here: General Chronology of an Outrage.

The Editor

Translated by mlk

10 August 2013