Opponents’ Attorney Can’t Practice / Lilianne Ruiz

Attorney Amelia Rodríguez Cala in Miami, July 2013, photo by Jorge Ignacio Pérez

HAVANA, Cuba – The attorney Amelia Rodríguez Cala, hired by Gorki Águila to conduct his defense — in a trial against him still unscheduled since it was postponed on 11 February — has been suddenly sanctioned to six months without the ability to practice her profession in court. For this reason, the singer of the punk band Porno para Ricardo will have to find another attorney to represent him.

Although Cubanet could not obtain statements from Rodríguez Cala, this information was provided first by Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello and confirmed by Gorki Águila and Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, who told this paper she had hired Rodríguez Cala on 27 January to represent her before the courts of the Department of State Security, responsible for looking that organization’s headquarters on 3 January, a judicial action without precedent since 1959, according to Soler.

She also said that her attorney had taken her investigation to the Picota police station where they had taken the various items stolen from the headquarters that day at 5:30 in the morning, but there they told her everything was in the hands of Villa Marista, main interrogation headquarters of the Cuban political police.

The labor sanction against Rodríguez Cala also left incomplete the process initiated by Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello to ask the court to revoke her parole or immediately cease the physical and psychological attacks, the siege and the police cordon that surrounds her own house and that flares up every Wednesday to prevent her meeting with Network of Community Communicators, over which Roque Cabello presides. The answer of the Court, so far, as been that it “has no evidence” to proceed.

Roque Cabello says that the attorney Rodríguez Cala has defended her since 1997, and she especially remembers the time before the trial began that would once again send her to prison in March of 2003, when the attorney for the defense hugged her, visibly moved, to tell her that they hadn’t even allowed her to see the file against her.

During the 3 days that the so-called Black Spring trial lasted, Rodríguez Cala defended 25 of the 75 accused. In total, she has defended 150 dissidents in her career.

Gorki Águila, meanwhile, faces a trial still without a date and now without an attorney, where he would submit the complete documentation stamped by the Notary Registry of the Mexican Department of the Interior and the Cuban Consulate in that country, which proves that he takes the two Tradea pills that the police found in his backpack on prescription.

The prosecutor — because of the police complaint — seeks to try Águila for “production, sale, demand, trafficking, distribution, having illegal drugs, narcotics, psychotropics and other similar effects.”

In Section 191, subsection C, under which they want to condemn him, reads: “The mere possession of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and other similar effects without due authorization or prescription, is punished: -C) with privation of liberty of three months to a year, or a fine of one hundred to three hundred shares* (…)”

According to Águila, Rodríguez Cala showed she was sure of being able to free him from prison, thanks to the documents proving his innocence.

Gorki Águila shows his documents. Photo by author.
Gorki Águila shows his documents. Photo by author.

Because of the summary nature of the trial against Águila doesn’t allow the defense to produce proofs until the moment of the trial. Numerous of the singer’s friends on the social networks remain alert and have opened the website: La Libertad de Gorki es la de tod@s! [Gorki’s freedom is everyone’s].

Finally, Rodríguez Cala also was the writer of Review Appeal document for Angel Santiesteban. The award-winning Cuban writer being held at military forced-labor center in Havana. On 28 February he will have been in prison for a year. The document intends to demonstrate that his trial was spurious, without due process, in which the defendant was defenseless.

The Minister of Justice has not responded regarding whether he will order the promotion of the Review Appeal initiated by Cala Rodríguez

As of now and for six months, the attorney has been demoted, with a much lower salary than she had as a professional, to a technical position (which in practice is carried out by an associate), fetching and carrying papers for other attorneys, in a Legal Collective in La Lisa Municipality.

*Translator’s note: The Cuban legal system establishes fines as “shares” so that the actual amounts can be administratively adjusted over time without having to change the underlying laws.

22 February 2014