14ymedio, Madrid, 5 July 2022 — The Cuban Foreign Ministry reacted this Monday, more than a week late, to the European Union’s condemnation of the sentence against the members of the San Isidro Movement, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo ’Osorbo’.
The spokesman for the European External Action Service, Peter Stano, posted on Sunday June 26 on Twitter, two days after the sentence was known, a statement from the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell in which he urged the Cuban authorities to release “all political prisoners and those detained solely for exercising their freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.”
“The latest statements on Cuba by European Union institutions, including those by spokesman Peter Stano, are contrary to the principles established in the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (ADPC) of equality, non-interference and respect for the sovereignty of parties,” said Emilio Lozada García, general director of Bilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on his Twitter account.
“The EU should abandon its double standards and deal with the serious human rights violations involving its member states,” said the diplomat, without specifying his accusations.
Although the EU did not make a statement specifically to refer to the sentences of nine and five years in prison against the two Cuban artists, Stano pointed out that, in relation to this case and those of other protesters in July 2021, Brussels wanted to reiterate its concern, and is “calling on the authorities to respect all civil and political rights, as Josep Borrell expressed in March.”
Next, the diplomat linked to the text in which the Cuban government was also called to pay “attention to the concerns of its people and participate in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue on their legitimate complaints.”
The official Cuban press has echoed Lozada’s statements, insisting that the sentence against Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez, in addition to Félix Roque Delgado, Juslid Justiz Lazo and Reina Sierra Duvergel, included in the same case, is consistent with the law and all the guarantees.
“During the trial sessions the defendants were heard, and in their presence the testimonial, documentary and expert evidence proposed by the prosecutor and the lawyers who represented them were heard. As a result, Otero Alcántara was sentenced to five years in prison, as the author of the crimes of outrage against the symbols of the country, contempt and public disorder.The Court imposed nine years in prison on Castillo Pérez, for the crimes of contempt, attack, public disorder and defamation of institutions and organizations, heroes and martyrs,” says the note released by the press.
The humanitarian organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the former of which declared both artists prisoners of conscience, spoke about the trial of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo a few days before it was to take place, demanding that the authorities allow the presence of journalists, human rights observers and personnel from foreign embassies in Cuba in this and other trials for the July 11th protests of last year (11J), which, they reiterated, should be annulled.
Diplomats from different European countries tried to access the Court of Marianao, in Havana, where the activists were tried on May 30 and 31, but they were prevented from entering.
A white vehicle carrying a Swedish diplomat tried to pass the police barrier and the agents did not allow it. International press outlets, such as the AFP agency, and representatives from Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands also were stopped at the door.
“We simply want to go in to observe the trial and so far we have not received permission,” said a German diplomat who added that they were following the case “very carefully.” “We want human rights to be respected in all places and countries.”
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