Tearing Up an Image of Fidel Castro is Worth a 12 Year Prison Sentence, According to the Cuban Prosecutor’s Office

A protester is detained by a policeman and a State Security agent in civilian clothes on July 11 in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 September 2021 — The Prosecutor’s Office is asking for 12 years in prison for Roberto Pérez Fonseca, detained after the July 11 protests in Cuba, during which he tore up a photograph of Fidel Castro. The case will be tried in San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, on September 28.

The document of the Prosecutor’s Office, to which Martí Noticias has had access, indicates that Pérez Fonseca is accused of two crimes of attack and another two of contempt, in addition to instigation to commit a crime and public disorder.

The Public Ministry comments that, “ignoring the highly complex situation” that plagued the province due to the covid-19 pandemic, the 39-year-old accused took to the streets “shouting counterrevolutionary slogans.”

Later, he stood on the Boulevard, “leading a large number of people who he incited to throw stones and bottles at the officers of the National Revolutionary Police,” before which he maintained a “defiant” attitude, arriving, the document says, to throw a stone in the direction of an agent he was insulting which did not hit him. However, it did hit a police vehicle that was damaged.

The mother of the accused, Lisset Fonseca Rosales, believes that the facts do not correspond to the seriousness of the sentence requested by the Prosecutor’s Office and attributes the request to the tearing of Castro’s image.

“That is recorded on video and it went viral on the networks,” she told Martí Noticias. Fonseca Rosales refers to the video broadcast on social networks that shows what happened on that day, when her son walked with several people shouting “freedom,” “down with communism” and “patria y vida,” (homeland and life) among other things.

Pérez Fonseca was arrested on July 16, five days after the events. The police handcuffed him at his house, to which they had gone insisting they only wanted to talk. From there he was taken away and remains in the Quivicán prison as a precautionary measure awaiting trial.

Three witnesses appeared at the PNR (National Revolutionary Police) in San José, who went to testify that he never threw stones, which is one of the things he is accused of, that the only thing he had done was to march. And none of the three appear in the Police file. One of those who was detained was also going to testify in his favor and they never took a statement. The Defense can only bring two witnesses,” Pérez Fonseca’s mother told Martí Noticias.

The sentence petition duplicates the one requested for Sissi Abascal Zamora, a Lady in White and a member of the Pedro Luis Boitel Democracy Party who is in home confinement as a precautionary measure and is also awaiting trial. The 23-year-old girl is accused of attack, contempt and public disorder for protesting in the park of the town of Carlos Rojas, in Matanzas.

After July 11, more than 700 people were arrested, according to volunteers who have collaborated in preparing these lists with Cubalex. Of these, some 400 are still deprived of liberty. According to official data, around 70 protesters were tried in summary proceedings for what the Government considers minor crimes, while those it accuses of what they consider serious crimes are awaiting trial.


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