14ymedio, Havana, 29 June 2020 — The Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), based in Madrid, has demanded transparency from the Cuban Government in the case of the death, at the hands of the Police, of the young black man Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano.
“The version given by the Ministry of the Interior confirms that Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano died as a result of police shooting. The story, which is intended to justify police action, is hardly credible and has significant discrepancies with the versions of the facts at the popular level which affirm, for example, that he was shot in the back,” said the OCDH.
Hernández’s death happened last Thursday when his aunt denounced the events, which were reported by the independent press.
The Government, through the official local newspaper Tribuna de La Habana, acknowledged what had happened although, according to their account, the victim was “a citizen who had stolen parts and accessories from a bus stop” caught “red handed” by a police patrol which tried to catch him and, during the chase, Hernandez threw stones at them and was then shot, causing his death.
The OCDH emphasizes that, even sticking to the official version, “it is very difficult to justify the alleged proportionality in the response” of the agent who shot the young man dead. “We wonder how Hernández Galiano went from fleeing to avoid being captured to becoming a real and imminent threat to the life of the police officer, what the other officer was doing in the meantime, or what other method of neutralization they used before going on to shoot.”
The human rights organization believes that in the government version there is an attempt to “discredit the victim with real or alleged criminal records” and rejects the bellicose official language.
“We also do not understand why the official statement in one part refers to the police as ‘the military’ and in another part speaks of ‘our combatants’, when it is not a fact the Army which intervened and, to our knowledge, the country is not at war,” it stresses.
The OCDH recalls that last year, in June 2019, another black citizen Raidel Vidal Caignet, 27, was killed by the police in Holguín.
“The death of these citizens is closely linked to the repressive scenario that the country is experiencing, where the police act with impunity with methods that are currently questioned throughout the world,” they lament.
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