14ymedio, Havana, 15 October 2022 — On Friday, the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Cuba issued a harsh warning against those who participated in the recent protests over the long blackouts after the passage of Hurricane Ian. In his statement, he said he was investigating the facts that “disturbed public order and citizen tranquillity.”
As already happened with July 11, 2021 (11J), the Prosecutor’s Office attributes to the demonstrators the “setting fire to facilities, the execution of acts of vandalism, the closure of public roads in order to prevent the movement of vehicles and people, attacks and offenses against officials and law enforcement agencies, and incitement to violence.”
The threat becomes more emphatic by addressing parents who “used” their minor children, whom the institution accuses of having neglected “their duties of protection, assistance, education and care towards them.”
The Prosecutor’s Office affirms that “they will receive the appropriate legal-criminal response.”
The statement doesn’t provide information on how many Cubans have been accused or imprisoned during the protests. On October 7, the organization Justice 11J published an update on detainees, based on the statements of their relatives and other information.
According to the NGO, they will be prosecuted for the crimes of public disorder, contempt and resistance, although it can’t accurately provide the number of people imprisoned, which is around thirty according to several organizations.
Justicia 11J offered to send families any audiovisual material or document that could be useful in the trials and claimed “the cooperation of civil society, the independent press and the accredited foreign press to visualize this injustice.”
This Wednesday, a neighbor of Bejucal, in the province of Mayabeque, told 14ymedio that during the protests that took place in that municipality on Monday night there was no police repression. However, the next day the parents were summoned to the schools for a meeting with the municipal prosecutors.
There they were warned that “the law covered them,” and they would serve two to seven years in prison if they allowed their minor children to participate in the protests. In addition, those who were over 16 years old would be sentenced to house arrest.
The new Criminal Code stipulates, in article 407, that it’s a crime “to induce a person under the age of eighteen to leave his home, miss school, reject the educational work inherent in the national education system or breach his duties related to respect and love for the Homeland.”
The sanction provides for “deprivation of freedom of six months or one year, or a fine of one hundred to three hundred assessments, or both,” and no longer than two to seven years in prison, as the Bejucal prosecutors threaten.
The passage of Hurricane Ian exacerbated the energy crisis in the island and sparked a new wave of protests against blackouts and shortages.
Some neighborhoods in Havana were out of power for up to six consecutive days after the hurricane. The blackouts lasted twelve hours in some parts of the country. The independent media Proyecto Inventorio has recorded about a hundred in the last fifteen days from testimonies and videos disseminated on social networks.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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