14ymedio, Havana, May 26, 2021 — Independent Cuban reporter Mary Karla Ares, arrested at the demonstration on Obispo Street last April 30, was transferred this Wednesday to the Guatao women’s penitentiary, in the municipality of Bauta, Artemisa, according to her mother, Marisol González, speaking to 14ymedio.
González, who was able to visit her daughter yesterday, related details of the visit to this newspaper. “Before going in, the officers lectured me and my husband not to hang around with people opposing the government or counterrevolutionaries paid by the United States,” she explains.
She goes on to say that they tried to intimidate them by telling them that they knew that Mary Karla received recharges from abroad and money from the United States. “At that moment we let it slide, but it would have been good if we would have asked them who benefits from those recharges,” says the mother, ironically referring to the telecommunications monopoly of ETECSA.
After the talks, González and her husband reproached the police because “they were treating those kids like criminals… She is not a criminal as they say, and it unfair because they are using them as an example for the others,” declared Ares’s mother.
According to González, since the demonstration on April 30 on the centrally located Obispo Street in Havana, her daughter spent all this time detained in the unit of 7th and 62, Playa Municipality, until she was transferred this Tuesday to Villa Marista, the General Headquarters of the State Security, for the visit.
Ares was arrested along with other activists when she was demanding the end of the siege around Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara’s house, who remained on hunger and thirst strike. According to the authorities, the demonstrators are under penal proceedings accused of “public disturbance” and “resistance.”
Relatives of the young lady had requested a change of charges so that Ares could be released on bail awaiting trial; however, it was refused, as was an appeal to Habeas Corpus that had been denied in early May.
The Committee to Protect Journalists told the Cuban authorities that they should immediately release Mary Karla Ares and allow the press to inform freely. The 28-year-old reporter is a contributor to Amanecer Habanero (Havana Dawn), a community communication medium associated with the Cuban Institute for the Freedom of Expression and the Press.
Last week, Amnesty International (AI) also requested the immediate release of the activists detained on April 30. This request emphasized Ares, who broadcast the demonstration live on Facebook.
Thais Mailen Franco Benítez was also arrested and taken to the Gatao penitentiary; Inti Sorto Romero is in Guanajay prison; and Yuisan Cancio Vera was transferred to the provincial penitentiary of Pinar del Rio, according to the Cubalex Legal Information Center*, a non-profit legal aid organization.
*Translator’s note: For an earlier interview with the founder of Cubalex, Laritza Diversent, see here.
Translated by Francy Perez
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