14ymedio, Havana, 16 April 2020 — The open case against Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara for a presumed crime of “damages” has been provisionally dismissed due to lack of evidence, meaning that the case is shelved until “new elements allow it to be put in progress.”
The document, to which this newspaper had access, was delivered this Wednesday to the artist through his lawyer.
“Now only the case for ’insult to the flag remains open’,” says Otero Alcántara, although the dismissal of the other charge is provisional. “I do not know what the political trick is now, but it is what it is. I consider this to have been another victory for the pressure that was exerted from all sides. We have been accumulating victories, first 349 [a decree that, in practice, prevented independent artists from developing their work and that was partially modified by the pressure of those affected]. That I am on the street is another triumph,” the artist told 14ymedio.
Otero Alcántara was notified by his lawyer, first thing in the morning, that he had to “walk” to the Police station so that they could give him “information from the Office of the National Prosecutor of the Republic.” The artist refused to go because he was isolated at home. “If they want, they can come looking for me complying with all the health protocols, or they can bring the information to me where I am spending my quarantine (and they know well where that is), or they can send me the info via WhatsApp, but I am not moving,” he said.
Otero Alcántara was arrested on March 1 when he left his home, and he was released on the night of Friday, March 13, after a campaign carried out by artists and intellectuals for his release. Hours before he was released, Amnesty International had declared him a prisoner of conscience, demanding his immediate release.
His first trial, for “insult to the national symbols,” was scheduled for March 11, but was postponed until further notice “due to the country’s economic conditions.”
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