Cuba: A Policeman Who Beat a July 11th Protestor in Custody is Sanctioned

Romero Negrín was awaiting trial for protesting on April 30 on Obispo Street. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 7 September 2021 — For the first time, one of the complaints of mistreatment of the detainees of July 11 (11J) has had consequences. The officer accused of having beaten the university student Leonardo Romero Negrín while he was in custody, has been sanctioned by the Prosecutor’s Office with “administrative measures.”

According to an investigation by the university magazine Alma Mater, the prosecutor validated, based on the complaint by Romero Negrín’s father, that the duty officer who received the young man when he arrived at the Dragones Police Unit hit him with a board “in the back of the thigh.”

The Military Prosecutor’s Office, indicates the magazine in an article published this Monday, detailed that “the act of the agent did not qualify as a crime of injuries,” but it did consider it an “administrative contravention.” For this reason, “he communicated these results to the headquarters of the Minint [Ministry of the Interior] and the PNR [National Revolutionary Police]” for the “adoption of corresponding administrative measures,” although without specifying what they consist of.

On July 19, Alma Mater announced the meeting with the young man and said that “in the next few days” it would publish about the case. As a result of the delay of almost two months, they received pressure on the networks to publish the story of Romero Negrín, a university student who is studying Physics at the University of Havana.

The text narrates that several witnesses declared to the Prosecutor’s Office that “Leonardo arrived at the unit visibly upset.” Although in initial testimonies the young man claimed to receive several blows, in his statements to the Prosecutor’s Office he affirmed that it was a single blow, something that the duty officer also admitted, who added that, after hitting him with the board, “he demanded verbally he calm down. “

The agent himself acknowledged, the article highlights, that “given the magnitude of the situation, he decided to keep his regulation weapon and use a board (…) to protect his physical integrity.”

In addition, on July 12, when he arrived at the penitentiary center known as the Cotorro prison for minors, in a medical examination Romero Negrín found “slight injuries to his nose, arm and thigh.”

Romero Negrín, arrested on July 11, was released on July 17 and accused of “public disorder” but he was already under a precautionary measure of house arrest awaiting a trial for the same crime for protesting on April 30 on Obispo Street, when he pulled out a sign that read “Socialism Yes, Repression No.” On that occasion, he was also arrested.

In an interview given to La Joven Cuba, the student said that what they did to him “was little” compared to other detainees who had “a bruised eye,” “a swollen face,” as well as “others with a plaster cast, with fractured fingers.”

“They brought an old man on Friday, they went to look for him at his house because they saw him on a camera,” he said. “They put him into the Ivanov handcuffed and made him go through something known as Somatón. What is that? Well, they get them off the truck and there is a line of soldiers on the left and another on the right, and all the inmates have to pass through the middle of those two rows so that they will beat them.”

According to the Cubalex legal advice center, the list of detainees in the protests reached 956 people from July 11 to date and 443 protesters are still in jail.


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