Protesters’ Trials in Cuba: ‘Black Berets, Red Berets, It’s Like They’re Going to Bring in Bin Laden’

Justice 11j has denounced that in the trials carried out to date, one of the repressive patterns is the police operations at the courthouses. (Santa Clara Court/Saily Gonzalez)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 25 January 2022 — Despite the harassment to which they are subjected by State Security and the strong operations at the doors of the courts where the July 11 protesters are being judged, many of their relatives have made it clear that they will not stop asking for justice in loud voices. One of them is Marta Perdomo, the mother of Nadir and Jorge Martín Perdomo, whose trial began this Tuesday in Quivicán, Mayabeque.

“This is full of red berets, black berets, State Security agents and police, as if they were going to bring Bin Laden,” the woman told 14ymedio outside the municipal court, moments before an officer snatched her cell phone from her hands. “Yeah, they’re going to take my phone away, so I can’t do anything else,” she managed to say.

Perdomo is one of those who have joined the initiative proposed by several activists to carry out cacerolazos — protest by banging on pots and pans — and broadcast them on social networks in support of political prisoners. “My children are innocent, I ask for freedom for my children,” the woman cries out in a video as she beats on a pot.

Nadir and Jorge Martín are the only defendants in that trial, and they face, respectively, eight and ten years in prison. “Jorge is accused of double contempt while Nadir is accused of attack,” explains his mother, insisting that these are “fabricated accusations.”

Perdomo expected to see her children enter the building, but it was not possible. According to what another close relative told this newspaper, “no one could see the kids from afar,” because “the truck turned the corner and they took them in the back way.”

In the week of January 24 to 28, the authorities have scheduled four trials in the provinces of Havana, Mayabeque and Matanzas. “Thirty-nine protesters will be tried for the crimes of sedition, sabotage, public disorder, contempt, assault and sexual assault,” the Justice 11J platform summarized on its Facebook page .

Among those to be tried is the musician Abel González Lescay, who is facing the weight of the prosecutor’s request for seven years in prison.

The siege of family and friends who wanted to approach the courts has been the trend in these trials. In regards to them, the Attorney General’s Office published a statement on Monday to justify itself, saying that the accusation of sedition for the protesters – the main reason why some face sentences of up to 30 years – is for “attacking the socialist state.”

On Tuesday, Michael Valladares, husband of the writer and political prisoner Maria Cristina Garrido, another of the 11J detainees, denounced that he was preparing to give his support to Marta Perdomo outside the court, but State Security did not allow it. “The place is full of State Security agents,” he tells 14ymedio. “There are about four blocked blocks, full of soldiers, and 100 meters away there is a cordon. They threatened me with a fine and that they would arrest me if I insisted on going through.”

The scenario was similar this Monday in Matanzas, where the opponent Félix Navarro and his daughter, Saily Navarro, are being tried, among other detainees, according to Annia Zamora, mother of the Lady in White Sissi Abascal, who also participated in the protests and who was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

“Yesterday they did not allow us to leave the town of Carlos Rojas, there is a strong operation,” said Zamora, who also said that the trial was prolonged, and that at seven o’clock at night “they were still in court, with the accused sitting on the bench.” For her, it is something “incredible” that even at that time they wanted to continue the trial. “A lawyer from the neighboring province of Mayabeque said no, that she had to return home” and they stopped until today when they have resumed,” she explained.

Zamora denounces that she has suffered this harassment since Sunday. That day, she says that she and her husband were arrested when they were leaving to go to mass. Taken to the Jovellanos police unit, they were kept until seven at night. “They are violating all our rights for only wanting to go to mass to pray and ask for the freedom of our political prisoners,” she protests.


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