Four Years of Forced Labor for a Young Woman Attacked on July 11th by a Police Officer in Camaguey

Reyna Yacnara Barreto Batista, being hugged by her father before entering the Granja 5 prison, in Camagüey, this Thursday. (La Hora de Cuba)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio,  Havana, 11 March 2022 — Reyna Yacnara Barreto Batista will serve four years of correctional work with internment in the women’s prison of Granja 5, in Camagüey, for having taken part in the demonstrations of July 11 (11J). The 21-year-old girl entered the prison this Thursday, accompanied by her parents to the door.

According to the independent media La Hora de Cuba, Barreto will have to remain in prison for a few days and then she will be transferred to “work at the camps,” where she will serve her sentence, probably in agricultural production.

The young woman was sentenced in a trial held on October 7th in which the Prosecutor’s Office initially asked for five years in prison for the crimes of “attack” and “public disorder,” and on December 24th she lost the appeal to the final sentence, four years of correctional work with internment.

Barreto has said that when she took to the streets that Sunday, like thousands of Camagüey citizens, the attitude of the protesters was peaceful at all times, and that the aggressive ones were the agents, uniformed or in civilian clothes, who confronted the citizens.

Before Barreto could say anything to him, he kicked the girl on her left thigh. “A kick from a robust man’s boot to me, a girl all skinny”

One of the police officers, she stated in an interview with La Hora de Cuba, hit an older man – which was recorded in one of the numerous videos shared on social networks around those days – and a boy threw himself on the ground to protect him. “Until that moment nothing had happened; Patria y Vida  (Homeland and Life), ‘freedom’, even the National Anthem was sung” she told journalist Henry Constantin.

Later, Barreto recounted, she also received a blow from an officer, whom she went to confront. Before she could say anything to him, he kicked the girl on her left thigh. “A kick from a robust man’s boot to me, a girl all skinny”, she narrated. All these actions were also recorded on video.

In the arrest of the young woman, which occurred on July 18th, a week after the protests, 15 policemen intervened, and she was missing for a few days. After two weeks in isolation due to Covid symptoms, she was released, but she continued to be harassed by State Security, according to the Cubalex organization in its list of 11J prisoners.

La Hora de Cuba points out that Barreto “has no criminal record” and that “the evidence and testimonies presented against her in the trials do not justify the aggression she received, much less the sentence imposed on her.”

They judge her, assures the Camagüey portal, “because ‘she has not shown repentance,’ according to Elizabeth Rojas, head of the court that presided over the trial appeal.”

Translated by Norma Whiting


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