Cuba: The Prosecutor’s Office and its Witnesses Present Those Indicted for the 11 July Protests in Santa Clara as Terrorists

During the day of the trial, security forces multiplied around the Villa Clara Provincial Court. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 11 January 2022 — The tension between the relatives grew on the second day of the trial of the protesters on July 11 (11J) in Santa Clara. During the day the security forces multiplied around the Villa Clara Provincial Court and the news that came from the few who were able to enter the oral hearing was discouraging.

“The relatives came out devastated, crying, some almost on the verge of fainting” due to the amount of lies told by the witnesses and the Prosecutor’s Office, says a relative of the political prisoner Andy García Lorenzo.

“They are practically talking about the boys as if they were terrorists, that they threw stones, they beat the policemen,” he adds. Outside the room, family and friends who could not enter had to deal with police surveillance and the insistent rain.

“One of the things they said was that Andy had incited violence, that they had it in videos, but the videos now do not appear and the computers are broken, therefore those videos were not shown,” says the relative, pointing out, furthermore, that “the prosecution’s witnesses did not agree in their testimonies.”

“The police have also totally victimized themselves saying that they were in the demonstration unarmed, helpless and have even declared that they were very afraid at that time,” he says.

However, despite the fact that some moments of the oral hearings have been heard, the relatives say that they have been kept at the back of the room where the trial is being held. “It is all a strategy so that they do not hear much of everything they are talking about. They still have not been able to even hear the name of the judge, she practically whispers it.”

The families also denounce that some have had the internet cut off from their mobile phone lines to prevent them from reporting what happens in the trials. This is the case of García Lorenzo’s brothers, who until yesterday made several live broadcasts of what was happening outside the court, shared photos and gave their testimony to independent media, but this Tuesday they were deprived of access to mobile data.

Despite the regime’s censorship, and thanks to other mobile phone SIM cards that they managed through friends, the young people broadcast live from afar the departure of the defendants from the court, since the police cordon prevented them from approaching the vehicles in which the protesters were to be transported. Dozens of relatives, children, women, the elderly, looked vehemently towards the place.

Shouts of “Freedom,” “Freedom for Andy,” and “We are here” were heard at the top of their voices along with some names of the protesters such as “Andy,” “Yunior” and “José,” as a sign of support and to let them know that they are not alone.

The 11J detainees in Santa Clara who are being tried are, in addition to García Lorenzo, José Gabriel Arruebarruena, Randy Arteaga Rivera, Brian Amed Ceballo O’Reilly, Maykel Fleites Rivalta, José Miguel Gómez Mondeja, Armando Guerra Pérez, Liván Hernández Sosa, John Luis Machado Marrero, Amanda Dalai Matamoros Cabrera, Pedro Manuel Nicodemos Cabrera, Ariel Núñez Martínez, Mercy Daniela Pitchs Martínez, Lázaro Alejandro Rodríguez Ruiz, Yunior Sebey Mena and Leonel Tristá García.

This Monday, the Justice 11J platform reported that during the week of January 10-14, there will be four trials of 66 protesters in various provinces of the country, including those in Santa Clara. The crimes charged are public disorder, contempt and attack.

To date, the platform has documented the holding of ordinary trials of 223 protesters and, in relation to those under 18 years of age arrested by the 11J, it detailed that of the 48 detainees, 15 remain in prisons.


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