14ymedio, Havana, 16 June 2022 — The artist Abel Lescay was ultimately sentenced to five years of “limitation of freedom” for his participation in the protests of July 11, 2021, as reported by the young man on his social networks after learning this Wednesday of the decision of the court of San José de Las Lajas (Mayabeque).
“My sentence is out. Five years of limited freedom. It’s at home, working or studying,” he confirmed on his Facebook profile. “I congratulate myself. Thank you all very much for his great help,” he added.
Sentenced in the first instance to six years in prison for offending a police officer during the 11J protests, Lescay has had his sentence modified after the appeal hearing was held on June 1.
The pro-government singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez had supported Lescay from his blog, where he asked for transparency in the process and for the sentence to be rectified, although he questioned the existence of such amending capacity in the government elite, which he described as a “sect.”
At the appeal hearing, Isel María Lescay Oliva, the young man’s mother, said that she was able to intervene in that last trial, something unusual in this type of process in Cuba. Lescay then acknowledged having ’exceeded himself’ and argued that his seven-day detention had been sufficient punishment. “He said that he had already suffered all the crudeness implied in that,” said the mother.
A few days later, it became known that the artist was expelled from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), where he was studying musical composition. Lescay was in the second year and failed several subjects, according to his own words. In the expulsion act it is indicated that article 58 has been applied, which provides for those who “fail more than two subjects in the year enrolled” not to be allowed to repeat it.
The musician is now focused on his new album, which he intends to finance through crowdfunding. “Now it’s my turn to play. I’m going to have a great album. Throw me the rope there, please,” he asked a week ago.
After hearing his first sentence, Abel Lescay said he had received the support of his colleagues at ISA at all times and that when he joined this course he went to talk to the rector, who referred to him as “a talented student” and gave him help with counseling to recover from the impact of the days he spent in jail.
However, he did reply to the officials of the institution who attacked a collective letter from artists who defended their freedom and described it as a “campaign that seeks to discredit the Revolution.”
A few days before the first trial was held last January, Lescay spoke with 14ymedio and recalled everything he suffered when they arrested him, one day after the protests, taking him out of his house naked, and remaining for six days under torture and threats of death.
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