14ymedio, Havana, 3 June 2022 — “The trial was the same as always. We have to wait for the result. Thank you,” said the artist Abel Lescay on Thursday, after his appeal hearing was held on Wednesday in the court of San José de Las Lajas (Mayabeque). But something did happen that was out of the norm: the young man had the opportunity to speak, something infrequent in this type of process in Cuba.
As revealed by his mother, Isel María Lescay Oliva, to Martí Noticias, the artist, sentenced in the first instance to six years in prison for offending a police officer during the 11J (July 11th) protests, admitted having exceeded himself and argued that his seven-day detention had meant enough punishment. “He said that he had already suffered all the rawness that implied that,” she said.
Lescay, whose hearing lasted until four in the afternoon, claimed not to be a criminal and not to have bad behavior, but to be a musician whose life is to play the piano, a way of life that he asked not to be deprived of.
“[He said that] he recognized that he had exceeded himself, that he had acted badly, that it was not right to offend people with words on the street, much less a policeman. But that what he had done was a rap, which is part of the things he studies and that rap is like that. That they require a certain marginality,” his mother said.
Isel María Lescay stressed that in appeals the defendants are not usually called – “It is something that happens between the lawyer, the judges and the prosecutor” – so her son’s case would be an exception.
The artist has received the support of the Higher Institute of Art (ISA) where he studies as well as from the musician Silvio Rodríguez — traditionally a supporter of the government — who asked from his blog for transparency in the process and for the sentence to be rectified in this instance, although he questioned whether the capacity for amendment in the governmental elite, which he described as a “sect,” exists.
According to Abel Lescay’s mother, the sentence will be announced in about a month, a long time compared to other appeals that are in court these days. In the same session as the artist there were 18 other people in an appeals trial that reviews the sentences of other 11J protesters from Bejucal, Las Vegas, Güines and Los Palos.
The judges of the Havana Supreme Court traveled to San José de Las Lajas to avoid having to move such a large number of prisoners on that same day.
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