Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara Will be Tried for ‘Property Damage’

Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara has been arrested twenty times in recent years. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 March 2020 — Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara will be tried in a “summary trial” to be held in less than ten days, according to the members of the San Isidro Movement of which the artist is a member. The movement denounced the coming trial.

The authorities arrested Otero Alcantara last Sunday afternoon to prevent him from attending the LGTBIQ ‘kissing call’ protest before the Cuban Radio and Television Institute. During the arrest, curator Claudia Genlui was beaten by a police officer and thrown to the ground on the public street. In addition, her cell phone was searched without documentation or an authorization for the search.

On Monday, artists Iris Ruiz and Amaury Pacheco, along with Genlui, went to the headquarters of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) on Rancho Boyeros Avenue in Havana to find out the whereabouts of Otero Alcántara.

The police informed them that Otero Alcantara is in the detention center known as Vivac, accused of property damage.

“They told us at the national PNR address that he will be subjected to ‘abbreviated summary judgment’ and that this should take place before ten days have elapsed according to the current legal system,” explains the group in a note published on Facebook.

According to the group, the authorities have sought an accusation of greater severity than on previous occasions to increase the probability of a trial and, eventually, a subsequent conviction. In the past, the activist had been charged with the alleged crimes of aggravated contempt and outrage against national symbols which had no judicial path.

The San Isidro Movement has not taken on this situation unprepared. “We will start a campaign based on the freedom of Luis Manuel, as well as towards the fundamental freedoms of all Cubans. We will be in the streets and in the courts, and as long as we exist we will be raising our voices because the injustice that prevails is great and unacceptable. All our operational options are on the table,” they warn.

In addition, they called on all Cuban artists who want to contribute some creative idea that supports “those who defend freedom on the Island of Cuba” to join the campaign for the freedom of Otero Alcantara, and to demand support from cultural communities to “raise their voices before the injustice and the oppression that is experienced on the island, because these procedures can happen (and they do happen) to any citizen who has decided to live in freedom.”

Otero Alcántara has suffered almost twenty arrests in recent years, especially for his activism against Decree Law 349, which seeks to regulate dissemination and artistic creation, keeping control in state hands.

“This is the 17th detention of this independent artist, and they will continue… because there is one goal: to bend, to tire, to eliminate his creative spirit, his conviction, to condition his art … I really believe it impossible [for them to achieve this], at least for a long time,” Genlui explained on Facebook.


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