Fabricated Charges and False Witnesses Against July 11th Protesters in Artemisa, Cuba

Photo of People’s Provincial Tribunal in Artemisa. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, November 28, 2021–“Prepared testimony” and contradictions predominated the three days of trials against 13 young protesters in the Criminal Court of the People’s Provincial Tribunal in Artemisa, according to family members. “There is an extraordinary contradiction among the prosecution’s witnesses,” Roberto Rodríguez, who attended the trial, assured 14ymedio.

The young people, who did not have prior criminal records, have endured finger pointing and comments for participating in the massive marches on July 11th in the province where the first popular protests began. During the trial, the fabricated accusations were evident as were the false witnesses with which the prosecutors sought long sentences. The sentencing is expected within 15 days.

In Yeremin Salsine Janés’s case, he could be sentenced to 14 years in prison. During his detention and his transfer to the maximum-security prison in the municipality of Guanajay, the 31-year-old man received beatings, which resulted in head injuries, according to sources close to the family.

“It has been tense, inhumane and cruel to see, on the first day, one of the young men hav a panic attack because he didn’t have his medication, seeing his brother with high blood pressure transferred to the hospital in a patrol car. And then he spent a long, torturous night waiting until dawn to continue the trial,” relayed Rodríguez, speaking about the arbitrary nature of the processes within the People’s Provincial Tribunal.

For Eduardo Gutiérrez Alonso, who remains in provisional custody at the Técnico y Guanajay and faces charges for the crimes of public disorder, contempt and assault, the prosecutor seeks 12 years in prison. The trial against him has been plagued with irregularities, denounced a family member. The witnesses confirmed that Eddy was wearing shorts and a red T-shirt. “That is not so,” refuted a source close to the accused. “In the videos and the evidence presented, he is dressed in black and wearing slacks.”

The streets of Artemisa’s Provincial Tribunal have been militarized, stated family members of the young men. (14ymedio)

The tension of the first day of the trial was followed by intimidation the following day when family members of those detained were received with “militarized streets,” which caused the first shock. The second occurred within the courtroom, when pepper spray carried by one of the policemen exploded.

“The sad thing is that in our affected state, to evacuate the prisoners they wanted to handcuff them, then they removed them from the courtroom, washed their faces and helped them,” and one man with asthma required oxygen. That day one of the accused with epilepsy “suffered a crises and had a seizure.” We learned this person had already experienced a similar situation in prison.

Last Wednesday, after the presentation of evidence, the defense felt confident that, “the prosecutor did not have a case.” The defense pointed out the lies told by the prosecutor and witnesses, in which “the manipulation was plain to see.”

Family members demanded “freedom and justice” for Javier González Fernández, Alexandre Díaz Rodríguez, Yurien Rodríguez Ramos, Eduard Bryan Luperon Vega, Eddy Gutiérrez Alonso, Victor Alejandro Painceira, Yeremi Salsine, José Alberto Pio Torres, Leandro David Morales, Luis Giraldo Martínez, Iván Hernández Troya, Yoslen Domínguez, and Yoselin Hernández. They also demanded that authorities cease “the citations and persecution.”

To date, several independent organizations have documented 1,283 detentions resulting from the protests on July 11th and 42 convictions in summary trials. Of this total, at least 540 remain in prison.

In one report, the Cubalex legal information center, expressed special concern for “the use of sedition to impose exemplary sanctions on at least 122 people” and reported that prior to July 11th, Cuban Prisoners Defenders had registered 152 political prisoners.

 Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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