14ymedio, Havana, February 3, 2024 — Amnesty International condemned this Friday the decision of the Municipal Court of Camagüey to sentence activist Aniette González García to three years in prison. Accused of “outraging national symbols”, the 43-year-old woman was arrested “for publishing a photo on social networks with the national flag in solidarity with Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.”
Hours before, independent journalist José Luis Tan Estrada had shared on his X account the sentence of González, who has been held in the Kilo 5 women’s prison, in Camagüey, since March 23, 2023. The text clarifies that the Ministry The Interior will now have the power to choose in which prison González will serve her sentence and list the accessory sanctions that apply to her.
With the loss of her freedom, the activist will also be stripped of her right to vote and of the 1.60 meter flag with which she was photographed. The banner – the “property that was used in the commission of the crime” – will, from now on, be the property of the municipal headquarters of the Union of Young Communists, “where it is delivered” and which may use it as it deems appropriate.
Aniette González has been held in the Kilo 5 women’s prison, in Camagüey, since March 23, 2023
González is regulated for the duration of the sentence — that is forbidden to travel outside the country — although the prohibition on leaving Cuba will only be valid while she is in prison. Also, as a formality, she is prevented from holding “positions” in entities that have to do with the economy and politics in Cuba.
The authorities will consider that the activist is a “repeat offender” before granting her any benefit or mitigation, underlines the text, which also decrees that González be kept in provisional prison until the sentence is fully carried out.
In August 2023, the Prosecutor’s Office had requested a four-year sanction for González for violating the flag, photographing herself wrapped in it. In March, after her arrest, González spent several days in the State Security barracks in the province of Camagüey. Shortly after, the Police informed her family that she would be transferred to jail under the precautionary measure of preventive detention and that she would be taken to trial for the photographs she spread on her social networks.
In the photos González is seen standing with her body covered by the national flag and, in another, she is sitting and has her face covered by the flag
In the photos, which are part of a performance, González is seen standing with her body covered by the national flag and, in another image, she is sitting with her face covered by the flag. With these images, the activist joined the campaign The Flag Belongs to Everyone, in solidarity with the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, imprisoned in the maximum security prison of Guanajay (Artemisa), for the crimes of insulting the symbols of the country, contempt and public disorder.
In 2019, the artist created the work Drapeau, using the flag as a claim that it is a symbol of the Cuban population. The regime immediately detained him and, after several complaints from human rights defenders, he was released, but the harassment did not stop.
On 11 July 2021, he was arrested before being able to join the mass protests that took place that day throughout the Island, although it was not until June 2022 that the Popular Municipal Court of Central Havana sentenced him to five years in prison.
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