14ymedio, Havana, 20 July 2021 — Photographer Anyelo, who took the images for the video clip Patria y Vida (CURSIVA), was sentenced on Wednesday to one year in prison on charges of “public disorder” for his participation in the July 11 demonstrations. Simultaneously, artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), was transferred to a maximum security prison in Guanajay (Artemisa). As reported by the MSI, Otero Alcántara is accused of the crimes of “attack,” “resistance” and “contempt.”
Otero Alcántara was arrested last July 11 during the day of protests in dozens of cities to demand freedom. Protestors shouted “patria y vida” (homeland and life), the title of the song in the video clip in which Trpya contributed. Since its release, last February, the song has become an opposition slogan inside and outside the island.
Art curator Claudia Genlui also reported the artist’s transfer to the maximum security prison in a post published on her Facebook profile this Tuesday night. “Since early in the morning I have been making arrangements related to the situation of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. I went to El Vivac [prison], already no longer hoping to be able to see him, because I knew they would not let me, but at least that they could give him some things I was taking him. It was in vain, because he was already in Guanajay.”
The MSI also announced in its networks that the artist’s defense “will be exercising in the coming days” all the necessary legal procedures to request a change of measure in his favor.
Genlui also referred to the case of his friend, photographer Anyelo Troya, arrested while photographing the demonstrations: “Today I also met Anyelo Troya’s mother. I saw a mother crying in despair, but I also saw a united family, capable of facing everything and holding on to the truth to save a son, a brother, a cousin.”
Artist Camila Lobón informed 14ymedio on Wednesday that Troya was sentenced to one year in prison. A day earlier, she had denounced on her social networks the fact that the photographer, accused of “public disorder”, was tried this Tuesday without the presence of any member of his family or his lawyer. In her text she explains that Anyelo Troya’s family went on Tuesday with a lawyer to the 100th y Aldabó prison, where he was detained. Only upon arrival did the family learn that he had been transferred to the 10 de Octubre Court for a summary trial.
“They rushed there and it turned out that the process had already ended, without prior notice to the family or any defense allowed,” Lobon said. Troya was responsible for filming the images taken in Havana for the video clip of the song Patria y Vida, by filmmaker Asiel Basbastro and involving Otero Alcántara, Maykel Castillo Osorbo and Eliexer Márquez El Funky.
For Lobón, “the abuse and cruelty of this system” cannot continue “to be indifferent to anyone who calls himself human” because in his opinion “the Cuban regime is carrying out a purge of the country’s non-conformist youth.”.He specified that the summary trial in which Troya was sentenced was collective and that together with him “11 other young people were condemned.”
The process to which those arrested for the protests are being subjected, legally called “direct attestation,” has been denounced this week by the organization Cuban Prisoners Defenders for violating the rights of the accused to legitimate self-defense.
Independent journalist Miriam Celaya González, a relative of a young woman arrested on July 11, reported on her networks on Wednesday that Amanda Hernández Celaya, her 17-year-old niece, was released on the night of July 20. Amanda was in the 100th y Aldabó prison and was released under a preventive measure that obliges her to remain at home until Thursday, the date on which the trial against her is scheduled to be held.
In this Tuesday’s broadcast of the program Hacemos Cuba, Colonel Victor Alvarez Valle, second chief of the Specialized Body of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of Interior, denied the existence of missing persons after the massive protests of last July 11. “Just like forced disappearances, torture is not a practice in Cuba,” said Alvarez.
He also dismissed the lists drawn up by several independent activists that contain the names of demonstrators whose whereabouts are unknown. “These lists lose credibility due to the lack of data and because it has been proven that many of those registered there have never been detained or even interviewed by the authorities,” he insisted.
On the other hand, also on Tuesday, the MSI received the Dissident Human Rights Award, granted by the Victims of Communism Foundation, with a special mention for the dissident rapper Maykel Castillo. The musician, currently imprisoned in the province of Pinar del Rio, sent an audio message via telephone. “This award is the result of a fair work, which has almost cost me my life, which has cost me blows (breaking my septum, my fingers…) because that’s how the henchmen behave,” he said.
He does not write the protest songs or the denunciations he makes daily in social networks thinking about recognition, he said, and stressed that “this award more than for me, is for all Cubans who right now are standing up and are already tired.”
Osorbo was jailed on May 18 and charged with the alleged crimes of “attack”, “public disorder” and “evasion of prisoners or detainees”, after he resisted his arbitrary arrest by the political police during a popular protest in front of the MSI headquarters. None of his relatives heard from him until 14 days later, on May 31, when he was located in the 5 y Medio Prison, in Pinar del Río.
The Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is dedicated to remembering the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime of opposition to communism and all other forms of totalitarianism, and last year recognized Russian dissident Alexei Navalni.
Translated by: Hombre de Paz
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