Opposition Cuban Rapper Denis Solis Leaves Prison

The opposition rapper Denis Solís with his colleague Eliexer “El Funky” Márquez  shortly after leaving prison.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 12, 2021 — The opposition rapper Denis Solís was released from jail, according to confirmation today by his colleague Eliexer “El Funky” Márquez, after being imprisoned for eight months.

According to the sentence he received, the activist should have been released on Friday, July 9, but that day State Security summoned the young man’s uncle, Vladimir Lázaro González, to inform him that he would leave on Sunday the 11th.

Solís, a member of the San Isidro Movement, was arrested on November 6 by an agent who had broken into his house without a warrant, without explanation, and without identifying himself, as the rapper himself recorded and posted on social media the same day.

Those posts, according to the Cuban Prisoners Defenders organization, served as the arbitrary basis for the accusation of “contempt”, which was made just three days later. Deprived of his liberty “as a precaution”, he was subjected to a summary trial on November 11 and sentenced to eight months in prison for the crime of “contempt.”

He was first imprisoned in the Valle Grande prison, in Havana, and since last December 8, in the Central Penitentiary of Combinado del Este, a maximum security prison.

Solís, who was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International, was held incommunicado on several occasions during his imprisonment. On one of the occasions when he was able to call his family, he said that he was in isolation due to an outbreak of Covid in the prison.

The arrest and imprisonment of Solís was the reason for the protest of some members of the MSI, who gathered for a hunger strike at the headquarters of the group, in Old Havana, for more than a week. They were violently evicted from there by agents dressed as sanitation workers on November 26, which in turn provoked the solidarity of more than 300 artists who gathered the following day in front of the Ministry of Culture seeking dialogue with the authorities.

About thirty of them managed to meet with Vice Minister Fernando Rojas, but since then, both the MSI artists and the “27N [November] Group” and other activists in solidarity with their cause have been continually harassed by State Security and subjected to an intense smear campaign by the ruling party.

In mid-November, after Solís’s arrest, MSI issued a statement denouncing the arrest and repression of several of its members for demanding the rapper’s release. The San Isidro collective said that violence and abuse of power “have become the norm in Cuba.”

Before his incarceration Solís had already suffered threats, abuse, and surveillance at his home, especially after tattooing the words “Cuba, change and free” on his chest in October 2020.

Translated by Tomás A.


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