Seven Minors Convicted for July 11th (11J) Protest in Cuba Will Not Serve Prison Sentences After a ‘Special Analysis’

The moment in which several young people turn over a patrol car on the corner of Toyo, Havana, on July 11, 2021. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 21 June 2022 — The more than 30 individuals convicted for their participation in the July 11th (11J) demonstrations on the corner of Toyo in Havana, where an overturned police patrol became a symbol of the protests that day, have had their sentences reduced by the Supreme People’s Court (TSP) of Cuba after the appeal hearing, held in the Municipal Court of Diez de Octubre on May 27.

The sentence, signed this Monday and to which 14ymedio has had access, confirms what the Justice 11J platform advanced on the same day of the appeal trial , that “changes of measure” were expected for the youngest.

Thus, the sentence imposed on Rowland Jesús Castillo Castro, 17 years old at the time of his arrest and sentenced to 18 years in prison, becomes 5 years of “deprivation of liberty subsidized by the same term of correctional work with internmen,t” the same sentece imposed on Kevin Damián Frómeta Castro (19 years old and previously sentenced to 16 years in prison) and Kendry Miranda Cárdenas (age 17 and previously sentenced to 19 years).

Another young person, Lauren Martínez Ibáñez, 18, was also given the same reduction “for reasons of justice and equity,” despite not having filed an appeal. Justice 11J had warned that the boy’s family had no resources to file appeals.

“The sanctions of deprivation of liberty and that of correctional work with internment will be fulfilled by those sanctioned in the penitentiary establishment designated by the Ministry of the Interior,” the legal document details.

For their part, Brandon David Becerra Curbelo, 17 years old at the time of the events and sentenced to 13 years in prison, Rafael Jesús Núñez Echenique (sentenced to 12 years) and Giuseppe Belauzarán Guada (17 years old and sentenced to 10 years) have had their sentences changed to 5 years of correctional work without internment.

Brayan Piloto Pupo (16 years old and previously sentenced to 10 years) and Lázaro Noel Urgellés Fajardo (17 and sentenced to 14 years) obtained a change to 5 years of “limitation of freedom.”

The imprisonment of minors after the peaceful demonstrations of 11J has been denounced by organizations such as Prisoners Defenders and international institutions such as Unicef, but until now the Cuban courts had ignored it. Last May, the UN Committee against Torture described as “alarming” the “high number of arrests” in Cuba after the protests and referred to the imprisoned youth.

Although President Miguel Díaz-Canel had assured that there were no minors incarcerated in Cuban prisons and that the high convictions of 16- and 17-year-olds had been carried out with “high judicial rationality,” in Monday’s ruling, recorded by Judges Plácido Batista Veranes, Alina de Fátima Santana Echerri, Paula Joaquina Rodríguez Sánchez, Marta Elena de Armas Castillo and Lázaro Máximo León Pelegrín, it reads that the defendants “whose ages at the time of committing the acts ranged between 16 and 19 years of age deserve special analysis.”

And they justify: “Cuba has always had attention to the comprehensive development of youth among its priorities. It is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, which has forced it to draw up strategies that allow it to abide by its postulates. They have adopted various legal measures aimed at strengthening the rights and guarantees of committers of crimes in this age range, among which are judicial decisions, which must be a reflection of the state’s will.

The text also argues in favor of reducing the sentences of the only two women prosecuted for the events, Yunaiky de la Caridad Linares Rodríguez, 24 years old, previously sentenced to 14 in prison, and Daisy Rodríguez Alfonso, 38 sentenced to 16 in prison.

Both will serve an 8-year sentence for having “a less relevant participation in the crime” and being deserving of mitigating circumstances. The first, “of normal civic performance, known in her community for being linked to the work of social organizations that, before the appeal judges, asked for an opportunity, which speaks in favor of her chances of amendment,” the sentence states. “The second, ill with HIV-AIDS and cancerous conditions.”

Despite the reductions in sentences, which are given after dozens of complaints in international instances, the TSP categorically refused to disregard the crime of sedition for which they were all convicted (two of them, Giuseppe Belauzarán Guada and Lázaro Noel Urgellés Fajardo, were also accused of theft), as requested by the defense of the majority of those who appealed.

“The defendants, indistinctly, state that there was no disturbance of the constitutional order, that their motivations were not of that type, that they joined the crowd of people without knowing the real purposes they were pursuing, that there was no preconceived agreement to act in this way, and they deny the use of violence against the authority and the representatives of the State institutions,” states the sentence, which asserts that the regulation of the crime of sedition “is in correspondence with the declaration that appears in Article 4, third paragraph of the Constitution of the Republic,” that is to say: that the socialist system is irrevocable.

This is how the sentences of those accused of the acts at the Toyo corner remain after the appeal hearing:

    1. Juan Emilio Pérez Estrada, 17 years in prison (previously sentenced to 21 years)
    2. Alexis Borges Wilson, 17 years old (sentenced to 20 years)
    3. Jorge Vallejo Venega, 15 years old (sentenced to 20 years)
    4. Duannis Dabel León Taboada, 14 years old (sentenced to 19 years)
    5. Dayan Gustavo Flores Brito, 14 years old (sentenced to 18 years)
    6. Asley Nelson Cabrera Puentes, 14 years old (sentenced to 25 years)
    7. Ronald García Sánchez, 14 years old (sentenced to 20 years)
    8. Donger Soroa González, 14 years old (sentenced to 20 years)
    9. Yoanky Báez Albornoz, 14 years old (sentenced to 23 years)
    10. Adael Jesús Leyva Díaz, 13 years old (sentenced to 19 years)
    11. Henry Fernández Pantera, 13 years old (sentenced to 21 years)
    12. Francisco Eduardo Soler Castaneda, 13 years old (sentenced to 18 years)
    13. Oriol Hernández Gálvez, 13 years old (sentenced to 15 years)
    14. Óscar Bravo Cruzata, 13 years old (sentenced to 18 years)
    15. Ricardo Duque Solís, 12 years old (sentenced to 18 years)
    16. Luis Armando Cruz Aguilera, 10 years (sentenced to 15 years)
    17. Yussuan Villalba Sierra, 10 years old (sentenced to 18 years)
    18. Adrián Oljales Mora, 10 years old (sentenced to 14 years)
    19. Edel Cabrera González, 10 years (sentenced to 15 years)
    20. Alexander Ayllón Carvajal, 8 years old (sentenced to 20 years)
    21. Yunaiky de la Caridad Linares Rodríguez, 8 years old (sentenced to 14 years)
    22. Daisy Rodríguez Alfonso, 8 years old (sentenced to 16 years)
    23. Rowland Jesús Castillo Castro, 5 years of correctional labor with internment (sentenced to 18 years)
    24. Kevin Damián Frómeta Castro, 5 years of correctional work with internment (sentenced to 16 years)
    25. Lauren Martínez Ibáñez, 5 years of correctional work with internment
    26. Kendry Miranda Cárdenas, 5 years of correctional labor with internment (sentenced to 19 years)
    27. Brandon David Becerra Curbelo, 5 years of correctional labor without internment (sentenced to 13 years)
    28. Rafael Jesús Núñez Echenique, 5 years of correctional work without internment (sentenced to 12 years)
    29. Lázaro Noel Urgellés Fajardo, 5 years of correctional work without internment (sentenced to 14 years)
    30. Brayan Piloto Pupo, 5 years of limited freedom (sentenced to 10 years)
    31. Giuseppe Belauzarán Guada, 5 years limitation of freedom (sentenced to 10 years)


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