Ignorance Hurts / Cuban Law Association, Osvaldo Rodriguez Diaz

Osvaldo Rodríguez Díaz

Guided by low-flying vultures, three young men, who moments before had been cutting wood on the mountain in order to build a fence, found the remains of a cow, which 24 hours earlier had been stolen and killed by unknown rustlers.

Though they could smell the odor of meat exposed for a long time in our hot climate, the newcomers felt that it could be useful for their dogs, or perhaps with some treatment, for their own consumption. With their tools they then proceeded to cut the bones along with the remaining meat and hide.

The task was interrupted by the police, who arrived with the animal’s owner, who already knew where the animal had been slaughtered, having found it before youngsters had, also guided by the birds of prey.

At noon it was decided to incinerate the remains of the animal and what the three boys had cut up, necessitated by the state of decomposition.

Not knowing who the perpetrators were and powerless to discover their identity, the police took the three young men as defendants to the police station. Because one of them was a soldier, it was decided that the case would be transferred to military jurisdiction, unfortunately for the three.

Over three months passed before it was presented to the regional Military Court based in La Cabaña. Do not be shocked:

– Acquisition of beef slaughtered illegally, under Article 240.1.3 of the Criminal Code, and

– Illegal Possession of Weapons, under Article 214 of the Criminal Code, both accomplished.

The latter charge, perhaps to justify the prison sentence, which exceeded the minimum limit for the first offense, which was charged from the outset.

The penalty imposed was six months imprisonment for both offenses, or three months for each one.

The incorrectness of these sentences is beyond absurd. To claim that a rotting carcass, which had to be incinerated, has the same character as meat fit for human consumption, as required by law, is extremely unjust.

Further, to treat the woodcutting tools used to cut bones as illegal weapons is breathtaking to any jurist. There is no known way to relate and illegally connect the two offenses, one a crime against public order, the other a crime against the economy.

How do these inexplicable things happen?

Someone should review these cases of clear judicial blundering.

The saddest thing about this story is that the people in court reacted with happiness, considering the sentence appropriate because, as the prosecutor explained, they had already served three months of the six, and had almost become eligible for probation.

Will they give it to them?

30 September 2013