According to the authorities the accident was caused by the driver of the vehicle traveling at excessive speed and without due attention to his control.
Those imputations involve violations of Articles 102 and 126 of the Highway Safety Code. According to the glossary of terms and definitions of the code, a traffic accident is defined as the incident occurring on the road on which a moving vehicle is operated and, as a result, death, injury to persons or property damage occurs.
Therefore, given the facts in the official version, technically the driver of the vehicle in which Oswaldo Payá and his companion were killed has committed a crime. And, under Article 177 of the Penal Code, the driver of a vehicle violating the traffic laws or regulations that causes the death of a person, shall be punished by imprisonment of one to ten years.
According to Article 183 of the code itself, the courts can adjust the penalty, taking into account, the degree of seriousness of the offense that caused the accident, according to the classification in the Highway Safety Code and, in the case of offenses with whose major or minor seriousness has not been determined specifically for traffic law, the court will use its judgment, taking into account the greater or lesser probability of creating the accidents incurred.
As for the term of the trial, in accordance with Article 479 of the Criminal Procedure Act, in the case where exceptional circumstances so warrant, the Attorney General of the Republic may appeal to the Chief Justice, and he may decide through a summary process the offenses within the jurisdiction of any court of justice, thus reducing the terms prior to trial. This could be done in a very short time, rather than taking months.
Sentencing of foreigners is provided for in Article 7.1 of the Criminal Code and foreigners sentenced to imprisonment by the Cuban courts may be delivered to complete their sentences in the the countries of which they are citizens.
Knowing the interrogation procedures, the prospect of a season in Cuban prisons and the natural survival instinct of man, and noting that there are two dead through alleged violations of the Highway Safety Code, they are now looking at ten years in prison, and one wonders if there is a reality other than the official version, and what other statement the driver of the car in which Payá and his Swedish comrade were traveling might have made.
On one side of the balance is a summary trial and a minimum sentence with a prompt execution of sentence in his country of origin, while on the other side is a long process and who knows how many years in prison.
Hopefully Payá and Harold were not victims of a crime. A new crime in a country where mistrust and hatred grow every day as a result of political segregation, not convenient to anyone.
Hopefully the pain of these deaths will not be joined by that of murder. Sadly, only time will have the last word.
28 July 2012