14ymedio, Havana, February 22, 2022–Activist Silverio Portal, leader of Independent and Democratic Cuba (CID), was released on Monday after fully serving his four-year prison sentence for contempt and public disorder.
“This is the letter, releasing me from the little prison, to the big prison. Homeland, life, and liberty,” wrote Portal on his Facebook profile along with an image of the document certifying his release from jail.
The opponent filmed a video along with his wife, Lucinda González, in which he thanked all those who have been supporting him during this time. “Silverio and I know we’ve never been alone. Only thanks to you have we triumphed,” said González.
“This shock now, going out into the street and seeing how things are is making me a bit nervous,” added the opponent, who seemed happy to be home, although he announced that what he most desires is “freedom for the Cuban people.”
“We only want life, homeland and liberty, that is our motto since July 11th,” insisted González, to which Portal added being dismayed by the number of people imprisoned since last summer’s anti-government protests.
The 73-year-old activist was sentenced to four years in jail in 2018 for the alleged crimes of public disorder and contempt, charges frequently used by authorities to incarcerate opponents.
A short time after going to prison, he suffered a stroke which left one side of his face paralyzed and required medical treatment for two cerebral hemorrhages, the result of his high blood pressure.
In mid-2020, Portal experienced partial loss of vision, apparently caused by a beating he received from the prison guards.
The opponent has been one of the political prisoners who has received the most international support recently. At least 150 opponents signed a letter in his favor demanding his release and the UN, the European Parliament, the Inter-american Commission on Human Rights and Amnesty International, in addition to the governments of countries such as that of the United States, demanded his immediate release.
On December 1, 2020, Portal received an “extracriminal pass” due to his health condition, which allowed him to return home; however, exactly one year later he was sent back to prison to complete his sentence, as expected, although the opposition considered it punishment for declaring his intentions to participate in the Civic March for Change called by Archipiélago for November 15th. He completed his sentence on February 19th.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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