July 11th Protesters in Artemisa, Cuba Receive Sentences of Up to 12 Years in Prison

Eddy Gutiérrez Alonso was sentenced to 8 years in jail. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 9 January 2022 — For the crimes of public disorder, contempt, assault, and insulting national symbols, 13 protesters who participated in the peaceful protests on July 11th (11J) in the municipality of Artemisa, were sentenced on Friday; sentences ranged from 4 years of ’limited liberty’ to 12 years in prison.

The trial was held at the end of November in the courtroom of the People’s Provincial Tribunal of Artemisa, the province where the first popular protests occurred, in the municipality of San Antonio de los Baños. During the trial, family members denounced the fabrication of crimes and the use of false witnesses, used by the prosecutor to seek longer sentences.

Luis Giraldo Martínez Sierra (27 years old) received the longest sentence, 12 years in prison, followed by Yeremin Salcine Jane (31 years old), with a 10-year sentence. Victor Alejandro Painceira Rodríguez (26 years old) was sentenced to 7 years and José Alberto Pio Torres (28 years old), Iván Hernández Troya (25 years old) and Yoslen Domínguez Víctores (33 years old) were all sentenced to 6 years.

Javier González Fernández (34 years old) and Alexander Díaz Rodríguez (41 years old) will have to spend 4 and 5 years in prison, respectively, while Eduard Bryan Luperon Vega (21 years old) and Yurien Rodríguez Ramos (42 years old) were sentenced to 4 years of forced labor without internment.

For his part, Yoselin Hernández Rodríguez (39 years old) faces a sentence of 5 years of ’limited liberty’, while Leandro David Morales Ricondo (23 years old) faces a 4-year sentence of the same.

In the case of young Eddy Gutiérrez Alonso (24 years old), the sentence was 8 years behind bars. “I was crying all night. For going out to protest he must spend 8 years in prison,” his girlfriend, Rachel, became indignant during the conversation on Friday, after learning of the tribunal’s decision. “I’m very depressed with all of this, I still have not processed the sentence.”

The document which describes the sentences, to which we had access, was issued on December 27, 2021, but the political prisoner’s family members and defense attorneys received it on Friday. It is signed by the judges of the Municipal Tribunal of Artemisa, Yurisander Diéguez Méndez, Ernesto Amaro Hernández and Leonel Llerena Díaz. Furthermore, it should be stated that all of those tried were given joint penalties for various crimes.

Of all those accused, it is said that “they walked in the middle of the public road, obstructing all traffic,” on several municipal streets in Artemisa. As they walked, “they raised and agitated their hands, so people would follow them,” while also “screaming ’police dickheads’, ’police motherfuckers’, and Díaz-Canel motherfucker’,” this last phrase directed at President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, “which exacerbated the spirits of those present and contributed to other people joining.”

Among the accusations against Luis Giraldo Martínez Sierra, the tribunal said it took into consideration his decision to “snatch from a government official” a Cuban flag, “which deserves respect for all it represents and the implicit honor it carries and in lashing out against the said symbol, demonstrated total irreverence.” The “facts” are described as “severe” because he also “decided to snatch the national symbol from the hands of a woman, physically smaller than him, shows a level of aggression on the part of the accused.”

With regard to Yeremin Salcine Jane, the judges considered “his active role in citizen disorder,” that he “uttered demeaning phrases against government officials,” in addition to “assaulting agents who were there to fulfill a mission, for which he hit and intimidated one truck driver so drivers would abandon their attempt to drive on, acts which resulted in marked violence and aggression in the public roadway.”

Of Eddy Gutiérrez Alonso, they stated that “in addition to disturbing the peace and offending government officials, he assaulted agents who were trying to contain the crowd’s illegitimate advance, for which he hit, threw a jar and intimidated the driver,” of a military truck, “so he would be unable to continue driving.”

Regarding the truck, the document also mentions the vehicle is a HOWO, “olive green, with ’PNR’ on its front doors, referring to the National Revolutionary Police, and belongs to the Military Unit 5274 Brigade of Prevention Troops of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Havana.”

Some of the accused, “lay on the ground to prevent the truck from advancing,” described the sentencing document. “Later, they stood in front” of the vehicle and “with their hands, lashed out against the vehicle and its occupants, striking the front of the vehicle, Eddy joined in, forcefully striking the passenger side door of the car several times with a closed fist and damaging it.”

The document continues, while the truck was turning a corner onto another street, Eddy “grabbed a plastic bottle from the floor and threw it into the cab,” in the direction of the driver, “without injuring him.”

In another part of the country, Matanzas province, another trial resulted in six-year jail sentences for Tania Echevarría, Leylandis Puentes Vargas, and Franciso Rangel Manzana for protesting on 11J in the municipality of Colón, reported Radio Televisión Martí this Saturday.

Manzano and Puentes, members of the Pedro Luis Boitel Party for Democracy, have been in prison since July 11th.

The families of the 13 people sentenced in Artemisa, as well as those of the opponents in Colón, have said they will appeal the sentences imposed on the political prisoners.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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