Cubalex’s Analysis of Filmmaker Anyelo Troya’s Case and Sentencing / Cubalex

Cuban photographer and filmmaker Anyelo Troya.

Cubalex, 23 July 2021 — Anyelo Troya’s* summary trial took place on July 19, 2021, and it was done through the legal figure called atestado directo (summary trial without witnesses/evidence).

Troya was the defendant in a kangaroo trial where the most elementary principles of the criminal procedures and due process guarantees were violated.

They had a legal services contract signed prior to the hearing, and still the judges proceeded to judge the photographer without his defense attorney being present.

This trial should be voided for the following reasons:

1-The hearing did not happen in front of an independent judicial branch.

2- Anyelo could not exercise his right to have en effective defense. He was not allowed to have direct communication with his attorney, and his attorney did not have access to any evidence or part of the investigation, or the docket filed with the courts. His defense attorney could not represent him during the hearing.

3- The court reached its ruling and issued an oral judgment on July 20, hearing only the evidence provided by the police, which contradicts the principles of equality between the parties and impartiality of the judges.

4- The allegations could not be corroborated since the defendant was not allowed to present evidence.

5- The judges illegally destroyed the premise of “presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

6- The judges usurped all parts in the legal process, acting as prosecutors and judges.

This trial violated the public principle, since it did not allowed the attendance of more than one family member during the oral proceedings, preventing citizens’ accountability of judges’ behaviors.

This, along with the isolation of the defendant and the fact the sentencing process was done orally, exposed the secrecy of a process that, by nature, must be public.

The court violated all transparency principles of the process and acted in collusion with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Police.

The prosecution must ensure compliance with legitimacy of the process from the beginning and it failed to do so.It allowed an individual who did not commit a crime to be charged and sentenced, and it hindered the defendant’s opportunity to make the case for his innocence. Nor did it protect the dignity of the defendant and it colluded with other parties to violate the existing criminal procedural law.

The State denied Anyelo his right to an effective legal remedy before the courts, to protect him against the violation of his constitutional rights, after being arbitrarily and violently arrested.

What did Anyelo do?

He is a photographer and was only taking photos on 11 July 2021, near his house, in the Habana Vieja municipality of Havana, Cuba.

This act is not prohibited by any law. Quite the contrary, is a fundamental human right enshrined in the different international and regional human rights declarations, including the Cuban Constitution: the right to freedom of expression.

It is a key right to be able to guarantee the rest of the individual rights and liberties any human being has, and it includes not being disturbed, being able to investigate, receive and disseminate information and opinions, as well as disseminating them without limitation by any means of expression.

Therefore, his actions were completely legitimate, unlike those of the authorities who can only do what is established by law and cannot exceed their powers, as they did.

Troya’s right to work — as established in Article 64 of the Cuban Constitution — was violated by the authorities.

Given his arbitrary detention, a Habeas Corpus procedure was filed with the courts and it was immediately dismissed by an order issued in the tribunal for crimes against state security, acting as criminal court, based solely on the fact that he was detained under a precautionary measure, ordered by the Centro Habana municipal court, in the case 452 of 2021.

The court reached its verdict in violation of the principle of legitimacy, violating his  constitutional guarantees and his rights inherent to his condition of human being when Anyelo’s statement was rejected and his request to have a hearing to present evidence by his defense attorney was dismissed.

The court dismissed the fact that an arrest record was not immediately issued, did not ruled on the physical violence the defendant was subjected to while in custody, nor regarding the violating of his right to immediate communication with his family (which was denied by the police), or regarding the lack of information on the accusation against him, blindly obeying what was said in a report by the National Revolutionary Police, against which an arbitrary complaint had been filed.

The documents provided by the prosecution and the police were considered sufficient to justify the legality of the detention, when the guarantees of the arrest had been previously breached.

This assessment written by Cubalex on the case of Anyelo Troya, a filmmaker sentenced to one year in jail, was first published on Cubalex.

*Translator’s note: Anyelo Troya is the film-maker, residing in Cuba, who did the portion of the video clip from the song ’Patria y Vida’, turned into the anthem from the #11J (July 11) Cuba uprising.

Translated by: Mailyn Salabarria