14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 4 August 2021 — “If you have nothing to hide, come join us, let’s talk”. With the arrogance that characterizes the political police in Cuba, several agents showed up at Sadiel González’s house to take him away this Monday.
He’s not the only one. Since July 11th, social networks have been flooded with posts denouncing the arbitrary arrest of dozens of Cubans who filmed or participated in the protests.
This Sunday afternoon, González had broadcast live images of young people on the streets of Old Havana with the text: “Barrio de Jesús María, youth poured into the streets. Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life]“. As of this Tuesday, he still has not been released, so his relatives and friends fear that he is being detained.
The “visit” of State Security to his home occurred after nine o’clock at night, at which time the city of Havana initiates a curfew that prohibits citizens from going out into the street or moving from a place to another.
On his Facebook profile, González was able to denounce, through a live broadcast, the moment when the agents arrived, arrested him and took him to the police station without presenting a warrant. When the young man, a resident of the municipality of 10 de Octubre, complained to the authorities that he must be summoned at least 24 hours in advance, the agent replied “you’re leaving with me now.”
“Sadiel, you are making it difficult for me (…) if you have nothing to hide, please join us (…) we are going to talk to the police”, said the officer, who identified himself as “the head of State Security in the municipality”.
As confirmed to ‘14ymedio’ by independent reporter Iliana Hernández, Sadiel González participated in the April 30th protest and in the one on July 11th
In the video, the activist’s mother is heard saying that they are taking him “to the sixth station” while the man specifies: “It’s an interview mother, don’t worry.” When González finally comes out to the police patrol in handcuffs, with the officers, the State Security agent explains to his mother:
“Your son is committing counterrevolutionary acts, about a month or two ago he was involved in a counterrevolutionary provocation in Havana (the Obispo Street protest of April 30th) and we have been following him since that date. Today your son did a direct one, inciting the people to carry out violent acts and to hold demonstrations. He is inciting the population to take to the streets”.
He also told her that, after July 11th, everything that her son has been doing “is wrong… He is telling lies, saying that it was a demonstration when all it was were young people playing in the street, he is manipulating information and that is a crime”, referring to a live broadcast carried out on Monday afternoon from the Jesús María neighborhood in Old Havana.
“I arrived with a lot of respect, but I almost had to threaten him to open the door for me, I told him ‘either you open the door or I’m looking for an order to knock it down’, (which I can do, too). If I come with an order and I knock down the door, how would you feel? With what money will you fix that? the officer added and concluded: “We cannot allow what your son is doing.”
As confirmed to 14ymedio by independent reporter Iliana Hernández, Sadiel González participated in the April 30th protest and in the one on July 11th .
Of the demonstrators who protested on Obispo Street, seven are still detained, awaiting trial and, as of this week, and have been deprived of liberty for three months. All were arrested on April 30th at the demonstration on Obispo Street when they tried to get to the house of artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who was on his sixth day of a hunger and thirst strike so that the siege to which State Security has subjected him would cease. During this protest, the participants shouted “Homeland and Life” and “Down with communism”.
Other activists who have taken to the streets to protest peacefully are also in prison awaiting trial. This is the case of Luis Robles Elizastigui, the young man arrested on December 4th during a protest on Havana Boulevard
Reporter Esteban Rodríguez, ADN Cuba correspondent, is in the Combinado del Este prison; activist Thais Mailén Franco Benítez, is imprisoned in the Guatao women’s prison, in La Lisa, Havana; Christian youth Yuisán Cancio Vera, is in the Combinado de la Construcción Augusto César Sandino Prison, in Pinar del Río; and Inti Soto Romero in the Taco Taco Prison.
Ángel Cuza Alfonso also remains in jail while journalist Mary Karla Arés and activists Nancy Vera and Leonardo Romero Negrín are under a precautionary measure of house arrest.
Other activists who have taken to the streets to protest peacefully are also in prison awaiting trial. This is the case of Luis Robles Elizastigui, the young man arrested on December 4th during a protest on Havana Boulevard. His brother, Landy Fernández Elizastigui, reported to 14ymedio this Tuesday that he has not received calls from him for almost a month.
“I still haven’t received a call from Luis since last July 4th,” he told this newspaper. He also said that the lawyer had received a new refusal of a change of precautionary measure that he requested last month but that he presented a new one on August 2nd.
“The lawyer showed me a new application that he presented this August 2nd and it is based on the words of the President of the Supreme Court, who said in a press conference on July 24th that thinking differently, questioning what the process is doing, or demonstrating does not constitute a crime”, he pointed out.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International, the Inter-American Press Association, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the United States government, the European Parliament, and the International PEN have spoken in favor of the immediate release of the Cuban protesters.
Translated by Norma Whiting
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