14ymedio, Havana, 5 July 2021 — Activist Virgilio Mantilla Arango was released this Sunday after serving a seven-month prison sentence for the alleged crime of hoarding food, as confirmed to 14ymedio by the Lady in White Leticia Ramos Herrería. The opponent was arrested on December 7 after publicly expressing his solidarity with the San Isidro Movement (MSI).
On social media, several activists reported the release of Mantilla Arango, founding leader of the Camagüeyana Human Rights Unit. For Ramos Herrería it is “the best news of all in these difficult times,” and he celebrated that the activist is already “at his home in Céspedes,” in the province of Camagüey.
The reporter for ADN Cuba, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, also said on his Facebook account that he was happy that Mantilla is already at liberty and noted: “He was jailed for giving his full support to the San Isidro Movement last November, when that group of young people were on a hunger and thirst strike at the headquarters of the movement in Havana.”
During Mantilla’s stay in prison, several activists denounced last March that he had been put in a punishment cell in the Kilo-9 prison when he returned from a hospital where he spent 13 days ill with covid-19. The complaints noted that Mantilla was denied medical attention despite his delicate state of health.
The Miami-based Center for a Free Cuba, led by Frank Calzón, labeled Mantilla a political prisoner. The organization called on the international community at that time to join the demands of the government with the aim of pressuring them to provide information on the opponent. “The case of Mantilla Arango is a clear example of these practices that violate human rights on the part of the Havana regime,” he denounced.
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