14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2022 — A total of 14 people were arrested this Monday for demonstrating in favor of those arrested on July 11, who are being tried this week in the Municipal Court of Diez de Octubre, in Havana. Many of them were beaten, according to the Justicia 11J group based on information from several witnesses, “including an old woman and an 18-year-old girl.”
According to the organization in a Facebook post, the art historian Carolina Barrero, who was reported missing for several hours, was at the La Lisa police station, and Camila Rodríguez, coordinator of Justicia 11J, was at the San Miguel del Padrón station, “under interrogation and threats of being accused of ’public disorder’.” The activists were released on Tuesday afternoon.
Hours earlier, the rest of the detainees had been released, including Yudinela Castro, mother of the minor Rowland Castillo Castro who was imprisoned for the 11J protest (with the prosecutor requesting a 23-year sentence), and the activist Daniela Rojo, who was also imprisoned for the July demonstrations.
Numerous relatives of Duannis León Taboada, who faces a prosecutor’s request for 21 years in prison, were also arrested: Daniela Aracelis León, Melanie Lilian Rodríguez Taboada, Raisa Belkis Ortiz González, Lisandra de la Caridad González Ortiz, Lilian Yudisleidys González Ortiz, Nélida Oleida Ortiz González and one more close friend whose name was not disclosed.
In addition, Arian Cruz Tata Poet, Alexander Hall and Leonardo Romero were detained for a few hours at the El Cotorro station.
The peaceful demonstration, which took place in the Juan Delgado park, where participants held hands in prayer and shouted slogans such as “freedom” and “they are heroes,” “was immediately answered with repression,” says Justicia 11J.
The platform claims to have received testimonies that the defendants, “moved by the support, joined in the protest by hitting the floor of the truck in which they were being transported back to prison and shouting ’freedom’.”
There are 33 demonstrators accused of “sedition” for protesting on 11J at the corner of Toyo, the place that presented the most iconic image of that day: a young man waving the Cuban flag while standing on an overturned police car.
This group includes six minors under 18 years of age, for whom the Prosecutor’s Office requests sentences of between 13 and 23 years in prison: Rowland Jesús Castillo Castro, Kendry Miranda Cárdenas, Brandon David Becerra Curbelo, Nayn Luis Marcos Molinet, Lázaro Noel Urgelles Fajardo and Giuseppe Belaunzarán Guada.
Far from heeding the calls of civil organizations regarding the violation of the rights of these minors under 18 years of age, the authorities continue to emphasize that the legal age of majority in Cuba is 16 years of age, and they mention the cases of protests by young people in The United Kingdom or the United States, without alluding to the fact that in no case, in those countries, have minors faced long prison sentences for throwing stones.
Also without mentioning these trials, but in a clear allusion to the discontent of young Cubans, Miguel Díaz-Canel said this Monday, at the first Council of Ministers of the year, that they will launch “a program of care for children and youth, where a more cultured, elevated, comprehensive response is demanded from all the institutions involved in the education and training of the new generations.”
The president also highlighted the role of the Communist Party of Cuba “in the defense of the socialist homeland, in safeguarding order and citizen tranquility, and as the superior leading force of society and the State,” with two objectives: “unity and continuity.”
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