EFE/14ymedio, Brussels, 1 March 2022 — The European Union expressed its concern on Monday over the “severe” sentences of up to 20 years in prison handed down against twenty demonstrators who participated in the anti-government protests on July 11 in Cuba.
“We are concerned about the severe sentences imposed,” said the European Commission’s foreign spokesman, Peter Stano, on his official Twitter account.
The spokesman for the European External Action Service (EEAS), headed by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, urged the Havana authorities to “respect fundamental rights, including freedom of expression.”
“Transparency and respect for due process must guide the trials related to the July 11 protests,” Stano stressed.
On July 11, the largest anti-government protests in decades took place in Cuba, spontaneous and massive demonstrations linked to the serious economic crisis that the country is going through and demands for freedom.
Last week, Cuban Justice, in a ruling by the Provincial Court of Holguín, sentenced 20 protesters for sedition, including five minors, to between five years of limited freedom and 20 years in prison.
The Government of the Island did not publicly disseminate these sentences and the official media had not reported on this case until late on Monday when the official press released a Prensa Latina note generically titled Trial in the province of Cuba, highlighting violence after disturbances, which did not detail either the sentences nor the crimes for which the defendants were tried.
The text speaks of alleged evidence presented that demonstrates the involvement of the United States in the protests, affirms that the accused were repentant and that the right to defense was guaranteed, contrary to the versions that the protesters, through their families, have maintained at all times.
In a recent document, the Attorney General’s Office reported the prosecution of 790 people for acts related to the July 11 protests. Of the total number of defendants, 55 are between 16 and 17 years old.
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