Ten July 11th Prisoners in Holguin, Cuba Begin Hunger Strike Protesting the Sentences Sought by the Prosecutor

Police deployed outside the tribunal in Santa Clara where, this week,  July 11th (11J) protesters were tried.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 15 January 2022 — Ten prisoners in Holguín, for whom the prosecutor maintained its request for very high sentences went on a hunger strike following their trial for the July 11th  (11J) protests. This was reported by Dr. Alejandro Raúl Pupo Casas on his social media, alerted by the mother of one of the defendants, William Manuel Leyva Pupo, a relative of the doctor.

For this 20-year-old, the prosecutor sought 18 years, and the same for Reymundo Fernandez Rodríguez, Jorge Luis Martínez García, Marcos Antonio Pintueles Marrero and Yoel Ricardo Sánchez Borjas.

The same source warned that the prisoners’ families will join their protest, although she did not name the other prisoners who were on hunger strike.

The sentences will be officially handed down on February 11, according to messages shared on Facebook by family members of the accused, and they all take for granted that the judges will bend to the prosecutors’ requests, as is usually the case in political trials.

Three other trials for 11J also ended on Friday in Santa Clara, Havana, and Mayabeque.

In this city, the news agency Efe reports that according to family members of the prisoners, a trial was held without the families’ prior knowledge.

For now, we know that in Holguín is where they requested the harshest sentences for July 11th protesters accused of “sedition”. Prosecutor Fernando Valentín Sera Planas–included on the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba’s list of oppressors along with dozens of his colleagues–sought 30 years in prison for Miguel Cabrera Rojas, Yosvany Rosell García Caso, José Ramón Solano Randiche and Iván Colón Suárez for the crime of sedition; 28 years for Maikel Rodríguez del Campo and Mario Josué Prieto Ricardo; 25 for Cruz García Domínguez, Miguel Enrique Girón Velázquez and Yasmany Crespo Hernández, and 22 for Yoirdan Revolta Leyva.

The only woman facing such high penalties in Holguín is Jessica Lisbeth Torres Calvo, for whom they are seeking 27 years, the same as her current age.

We are also aware of four minors tried for the same crime–Yeral Michel Palacios Román, Ernesto Abelardo Martínez Pérez, Ayan Idalberto Jover Cardosa and Keyla Roxana Mulet Calderón–the original request of 15 years was reduced to between five and seven years.

During the last day of the trials, State Security stepped up its harassment of the prisoners’ friends and family who have publicly protested.

In Santa Clara, where 16 protesters were tried, activist Saily González was detained for several hours, as were family members of Andy García Lorenzo, arrested in the morning, they were heading to the tribunal, as they did every day since the start of the trial on Monday.

According to sources close to Saily González, her arrest occurred when she was headed to present a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of García Lorenzo’s familyAll of their phones were confiscated and they were each assessed a fine of 3,000 pesos. “She was very agitated, crying, they took her phone, the hard drive on which she had the habeas corpus document, her earphones. Now neither she nor Andy García’s family has a way to communicate,” reported activist Víctor Arias, whom González visited following her release at 7 pm sharp.

Arias also confirmed that Andy García’s sister, Roxana, and her partner Jonathan López were released, but he alerted that his father, Pedro López, “left the interrogation and there is still no news from him.”

Andy García’s family has been one of the most active in denouncing the irregularities of the trials in which, they assure, the prosecution’s witnesses lie. According to Tayri Lorenzo, the young man’s mother, in the courtroom in Santa Clara one of them said that State Security negotiated a fine for him in exchange for his testimony to implicate the accused.

They are not the only ones suffering harassment by the political police. Yudinela Castro, the mother of Rowland Castillo, a 17-year-old accused of “sedition” and for whom the prosecutor seeks 23 years of deprivation of liberty for participating in the 11J protests in Havana, told 14ymedio that State Security has been pressuring her not to denounce her son’s situation.

“Yesterday I received a summons, I was not at home but they called my phone and left it under my door. It was around midnight,” she said. She was so bothered to see that paper as she arrived home, that she ripped it up.

The civilian agents who identified themselves as Ignacio and Elías, she continued, always tell her they are going to accuse her of “contempt or sedition” for what she posts on social media and the declarations she has made to the press. “They tell me I am associated with terrorists and counterrevolutionaries.”

Castillo, incarcerated in Occidente’s Juvenile Prison in El Guatao, is from Mantilla and the Sunday of the protests, he was arrested on the corner of Toyo in the municipality of Diez de Octubre, one of the epicenters of the protests and a place where a patrol car was overturned.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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