EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 21 January 2023 — Cuba’s Minister of Justice, Óscar Silvera, met with ambassadors from the European Union (EU) to discuss the sentences of those who protested, across Cuba, in the demonstrations of 11 July 2021 (11J), according to what EFE has learned.
The meeting, held this Wednesday within the framework of the Cuba-EU Political Dialogue, had an open and frank atmosphere, according to both parties, who assessed the meeting positively. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the meeting in a statement as a “sincere, open, respectful and profitable conversation.”
Diplomatic sources explained to EFE that the European side even raised the pardon of the protesters of the 11J protests, the largest demosntrations in decades on the Island. Some 700 sentences have been handed down so far, according to activists who keep track of these cases, some of them up to 30 years in prison for the crime of sedition.
Silvera, who qualified that there is no legal possibility of an amnesty in Cuba, noted the request for pardon from the European side, although without committing himself to anything. The repercussions of the new Cuban Penal Code, which entered into force last December and toughens the penalties for protesters, dissidents and activists, were also discussed at the meeting.
The meeting did not address bills currently being processed and that are generating some social controversy, such as the Social Communication Law, which prohibits independent media, or the Public Health Law, which would legalize euthanasia.
The European representation already met with members of Cuba’s Supreme People’s Court at the end of last year and plans to meet with representatives of the island’s Attorney General’s Office.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that the meeting took place to “give continuity to the bilateral political dialogue” within the Political Dialogue, the “governing instrument” of relations between Cuba and the European bloc in force since 2017.
The political dialogue, according to the Ministry, “made it possible to intensify cooperation and generated opportunities for exchange on issues of mutual interest, such as human rights, unilateral coercive measures and sustainable development.”
Around twenty representatives from Cuba participated in the meeting –among them Silvera and several deputy ministers and general directors from his department – and from the EU, with the community ambassador to the island, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, at the head of the delegation.
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