Prosecutors Seek Up to 16 Years in Prison for July 11th (11J) Protesters in Cuba

Activist Yoandris Gutiéreez Vargas, tried in Bayamo for the July 11th protests. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, March 14, 2022–The Prosecutor’s Office of Bayamo, in the province of Granma, scheduled for last Friday the sentencing of the July 11th protesters processed in the last known trial. For the group of 17 people, accused of assault, resistance, public disorder, contempt and damages caused by alleged “acts of vandalism” against military personnel and vehicles of the Ministry of the Interior, it seeks up to 16 years in prison, informed Radio Television Martí.

Among those processed is activist Yoandris Gutiérrez Vargas, a member of independent organization Impacto Juvenil Republicano [Youth Republican Impact], who is currently in the Mangas de Bayamo prison facing an 11-year sentence. Last October the opponent spent one week on a hunger strike to denounce mistreatment in jail and the “unjust” accusations against him.

According to the legal NGO, Cubalex, the activist is denied family visits, the conjugal pavilion, and his telephone use is restricted. “He is under the most severe regimen, in an isolation cell,” they denounced on their list ahead of the trial.

Before Las Mangas prison, and since his arrest two days after the July protests, he was held in a jail in the municipality of Yara, from where he was transferred on October 18th.

Spokesperson for the Republican Party of Cuba, Geiler Flores Fonseca declared on Radio Television Marti that the July 11th protesters went out to express “all that they had kept within their hearts, and it was to demand freedom.”

In his judgement, the sentences sought by the Prosecutor’s office are “excessive” and referred to Yoandris Gutiérrez as a “loyal defender of human rights and a loyal truthseeker,” said Flores.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Bayamo accused them of committing assault, resistance, public disorder, contempt and damages; they allegedly committed “acts of vandalism” against military personnel and vehicles of the Ministry of the Interior.

Flores Fonseca maintains that “several protesters” attacked the Ministry vehicle because inside it were personnel dressed as civilians who began attacking protesters. “They simply tried to defend themselves,” added the opponent.

In addition to Yoandris Gutiérrez Vargas, the following were also tried in Bayamo: Abel Quevedo Miranda, Ariel Axel López Ramírez, Bryan Eladio Vega Véliz, Carlos Rafael Ramírez Quiñones, Emmanuel López Martínez, Javier Rafael Paneque Oliva, Jenry Osmar Sánchez Aparicio, Jorge Iván Díaz Puig, Juan Alberto Matos Masó, Levys González Piedra, Luis Arnaldo Leyva Pérez, Maikol Fabián Figueredo Carbonell, Rafael Cutiño Bazán, Ricardo Fernández Osorio, Roberto Sosa Cabrera and Yoel Consuegra Ávila.

As in previous cases, the trials have not been reported by state press and most family members of the defendants opt for silence, evidence of the pressure from the regime to silence their testimonies.

According to the Attorney General, the July 11th protests have resulted in criminal proceedings against 790 people, facing sentences of up to 30 years in jail.

Recently, writer María Cristina Garrido Garrido and her sister were sentenced to 7 and 3 years in jail, after participating in the protests in the municipality of San José de Las Lajas, in Mayabeque province, and a young woman, Reyna Yacnara Barreto Batista, went to prison in Camagüey, to serve the four years of correctional labor with internment to which she was sentenced for protesting on July 11th.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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