14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 7 December 2021 — Bárbara Farrat Guillén, mother of Jonathan Torres Farrat, one of the young people imprisoned by the protests on July 11 (11J) in Havana, has carried out two 24-hour fasts and confirmed to 14ymedio that she will start a hunger and thirst strike together to the father of her son in demand for his release.
“The strike will start on the 11th [December] because the 10th is my son’s visit and I need to tell him the decision I made and to say goodbye to him since I don’t know what will happen,” Farrat Guillén wrote this Monday in his Facebook profile, announcing that he will make his protest publicly in a church, yet without specifying which, “so that everyone can see that it is real and they can come and support us.”
The young man, who turned 17 that same Sunday, July 11 and is asthmatic in addition to suffering from heart disease, was not arrested immediately, but a month later, on August 13, when he was identified in two videos seized by the police.
“I need to get my son out of jail. This whole process is not only affecting him, but also the whole family, even his son, just one month and ten days old,” Farrat Guillén told this newspaper in anguish.
In the videos that the police presented to accuse Jonathan Torres, Farrat Guillén told Radio and Television Martí, her son is observed with a stick and also that picking up a stone and throwing it. For this reason, they accuse him of “attack,” “public disorder” and “propagation of an epidemic.” However, so far neither the young man nor his family have been shown the prosecutor’s request.
“It is true that my son appears in a video throwing a stone but it was because there were hundreds of policemen attacking them [the protesters],” said Farrat Guillén in an interview with CiberCuba, in which she also assures that before arriving at the “evidence” that he accused her son, the investigator showed her numerous images “in which the officers are seen throwing stones” at those who were protesting that Sunday.
“Here [in the municipality of Diez de Octubre] there were shots. I know my neighbors who had gunshot wounds,” said the mother before asking: “What justice can there be in this country than for [throwing] a stone – because you are defending yourself, because you are an equal human being — they put you in prison and they are accusing you of a lot of crimes?”
The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Havana has denied so far, as Farrat Guillén confirmed to this newspaper, six changes of precautionary measures for her son, who has been in the jail for Young Men of the West for almost four months.
In Cuba, criminal responsibility is enforceable from 16 years of age. For people over 16 years of age and under 18, the minimum and maximum limits of penalties can be reduced by up to half, and with respect to those aged 18 to 20, up to a third.
Some 40 minors were detained after July 11 , despite the fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, assured that there were no prisoners of those ages in Cuban prisons. At present, according to a registry kept by the Cubalex Legal Information Center , 14 adolescents remain imprisoned.
Farrat Guillén told 14ymedio that she has felt supported by other mothers of the minors who are still in prison after 11J. Although there is currently no coordinated action, she announced that in the coming days several family members will demonstrate publicly to demand the release of their children.
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