Cuban journalist Camila Acosta is fined 1,000 pesos for reporting about 11J

Camila Acosta, independent Cuban journalist. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, May 27, 2022 — Camila Acosta has avoided  trial for an alleged crime of public disorder after paying a fine of 1,000 pesos imposed by State Security. The independent journalist, who was arrested for reporting on the protests of July 11 (11J) and had been under house arrest for 10 months, reported on the resolution of the case in an article published by Cubanet, the media with which she collaborates.

Acosta relates that the Aguilera police, in the municipality of Diez de Octubre, summoned her on Wednesday and imposed a fine on her in the presence of her lawyer under a rule — relating to the criterion of opportunity — that allows proceedings to be resolved without going to court.

The fine must be paid in three days, and although she believes this is arbitrary, she is accepting it to avoid going to trial, “which, knowing the constant violations that are committed and the state of total defenselessness before the laws, is the lesser of evils.”

In addition to the fine, State Security confiscated personal property that she allegedly had on the day of her arrest on July 12: two laptops, a hard drive, two phones, five flash drives, work agendas, books, a blouse she wore on July 11, $50 and 20,000 CUP pesos. “Some of these assets were not even my property,” the journalist adds. They returned only a phone charger, a wireless computer mouse, and a recording device, which she thinks they broke, because it doesn’t work.

Acosta denies that a she committed a crime and, even less, that the confiscated objects are related to the public disorders that she was charged with.

During the four days she spent in detention, the journalist says that she was interrogated by State Security twice a day for two hours each time, and she confirmed to them that she participated in the July 11 protests as a reporter. “I don’t regret having done it, and I would do it again. Reporting is not a crime, nor is a peaceful demonstration.”

Camila Acosta says she is aware that she didn’t commit a crime, but going to trial would mean a sentence of three months to one year in prison. The criminal investigation against the journalist was opened ten months ago, and in the last five she was under daily surveillance in her home, where she was constantly harassed “with the psychological burden that this represents, both personally and for family and friends.”

The journalist predicts that her fight is not over yet. “The new Criminal Code is more criminal than the previous one and provides the regime with repressive tools that directly attack independent journalists, the opposition and civil society in general. The torment is far from over.”

Camila Acosta is a contributor to CubaNet and the Spanish newspaper ABC, and before moving to the independent Cuban press she was on local television, Canal Habana.

The transition to the private sector has cost her family break-ups, repression and the harassment of State Security, as is the case with many other reporters and activists.

The resolution agreed in this case coincides with the release of several young people who participated in the 11J protests, such as the young Andy García Lorenzo, who went from prison to an “open regime” camp; after an appeal, five others obtained the same benefit: Jorge Gabriel Arruebarruena, José Miguel Gómez Mondeja, Lázaro Alejandro Rodríguez Ruiz, Ariel Núñez Martínez, Mercy Daniela Pitchs Martínez and Amanda Dalai Matatamoros Cabrera.

Jonathan Torres Farrat was also released, as a change of pre-trial measure, after the payment of bail, while awaiting his trial.

Others released on Wednesday were Eloy Bárbaro Cardoso, an 18-year-old university student captured in La Güinera; Juan Yanier Antomarchi Nuñez, also 18 years old and sentenced in the first instance to 8 years of deprivation of liberty, and Dariel Cruz García, 20 years old, who also received an 8-year sentence.

In total, this week, 15 accused of participating in the July 11 protests have been released. Thirteen of the protesters had their sentences reduced by up to 10 years, and two were switched to correctional work, one of them without internment.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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