Three Cuban Activists are Detained in Havana for Denouncing July 11th Trials

Activists Carolina Barrero, Daniel Triana, and Arian Cruz were detained at the entrance to the People’s Supreme Court in Old Havana. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 January 2022 — Three new trials of July 11th (11J) protesters in Cuba are being held this week. According to a report from Justicia 11J they will take place for 45 defendants in Mayabeque and in Havana.

Due to a lack of information from Cuban authorities, civil society organizations and family members of the prisoners continue to provide information about the 11J trial proceedings.

Activists Carolina Barrero, Daniel Triana and Arian Cruz, who arrived at the entrance to the People’s Supreme Court on Obrapía and Aguiar in Old Havana, “to protest” the trials and in solidarity with families of the detained, were themselves arrested on Monday morning.

Inside the patrol car, the young people repeated this verse from the poem by José Martí, Pour Out Your Sorrows, My Heart:

Oh poem, they speak of a God
A host where the dead must go
Oh poem, we’ll be saved together
Or felled by a single blow!

Furthermore, they yelled slogans such as: “justice for the people,” “freedom for political prisoners,” “end extreme cruelty,” and “down with the empire of fear.”

The prisoner facing the longest sentence, 27 years, is Elieser Gordin Rojas, who will be prosecuted in the trial that begins on Monday and will end on Friday in the Municipal Tribunal of Diez de Octubre, in the capital.

There, they will also try two 17-year-old minors: Nelson Nestor Rivero Garzón and Emiyoslán Román Rodríguez, for whom prosecutor Mabel Palacios Aties — recently included on the  Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba’s list of oppressors — seeks 15 years in jail.

During the trials last week in Havana and Holguín, “in response of to pressure from civil society,” wrote Justicia 11J, “the sedition charges were dropped and the sentences sought by the prosecutor were reduced for 12 minors younger than 19 years old.”

“It is not yet clear which charge would be imposed in its place, and therefore, whether the maximum penalties would still be applied,” continued the statement from the group, linked to the NGO legal platform Cubalex, which is unaware of whether these measures “would also apply to those younger than 19 years of age who were tried in December in Havana, and who are still awaiting sentencing.”

Ten prisoners in Holguín against whom the prosecutor upheld its request for very high penalties initiated a hunger strike after their trial ended Friday.

Prosecutors are also seeking 20 years in prison for sedition during trials this week in Havana for no fewer than 19 defendants: Roberto Ferrer Gener, Santiago Vázquez León, Yosney Emilio Román Rodríguez, Carlos Luis Águila Socarrás, Frandy González León, Adonay López López, Harold Michel Mena Nuviola, Jaime Alcide Firdó Rodríguez, Alejandro Becquer Arias, Amaury Leyva Prieto, Julián Yasmany Díaz Mena, Raudel Saborin González, Juan Carlos Morales Herrera, Eduardo Álvarez Rigal and Yasiel Arnaldo Córdova Rodríguez.

In the capital, Yeinier Ibáñez Boude, for whom prosecutors are seeking 18 years, will also be tried, along with Frank Daniel Roy Sotolongo, Yassell Guerra Campos, Marcos Antonio Alfonso Breto and Yensy Jorge Machado González, who face 15 year sentences.

Another 22 protesters will be prosecuted in San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, 15 of them between Monday and Wednesday and the rest on Friday.

For the first group, prosecutor Ariagne Pérez Pérez seeks between one year of forced labor with internment (in the case of defendant Sergio Enseñat Valladares) and up to 14 years in prison (in the case of Vladimir Castillo Llanes). In addition to them, Jorge Yenier Ortiz Aguilera, Rogelio Lázaro Domínguez Pérez, Manuel Velázquez Licea, Alien Molina Castell, Humberto Monrabals Camps, Arturo Valentín Riverón, Enmanuel Robles Pérez, Yusmely Moreno González, Danger Acosta Justi, Yaroski Amat Salabarria, Jesús Pérez Quintero, Emelina Pendás Rodríguez and Mailene Noguera Santiesteban.

The defendants who will be tried on Friday are María Cristina Garrido Rodríguez, Angélica Garrido Rodríguez, Alexis Pedro Acosta Hernández, Giorbis Pardo del Toro, Osmany Hernández Rodríguez, Yanet Sánchez Cocho and Patricia Lázara Acosta Sánchez, for whom prosecutor Ruth Reina Rodríguez seeks between 6 and 18 years in prison.

In its most recent report, Justicia 11J denounced the conditions in which those jailed for the massive peaceful protest on that Sunday in July are being held. “We denounce the appalling health conditions in Cuban detention centers,” warned the organizations, “and we raise the alarm about the ill-treatment, which the prisoners continue to denounce.”

As an example, the group shared a letter, dated July 17th, written from prison by Mailene Noguera Santiesteban, who is facing up to a six year sentence in San José de las Lajas; it details the violence with which she was detained, “dragged on the floor” between blows.

“They dragged me and would yell “pig, louse, where are the clothes and money the Americans send you, look how you’re dressed,” she said. “I was almost naked, as they entered my house in the middle of the night and upon taking me and my husband [Manuel Velázquez Licea] left my 8 year old son completely alone.”

Justicia 11J logged a total of 1,377 people arrested for the July protests, of which 727 remain in jail, including 70 women and 15 minors. At least 361 have been tried in “either summary or ordinary trials”.

The first mention of these trials by the state-run media appeared on Monday, for the purpose of launching the new judicial year. “In the same way, it is our responsibility to judge those who, acting as peons in the subversive attack and the destabilization attempts by enemies of the Revolution, they committed acts of vandalism, violent aggression against authorities and officials, and other serious crimes,” mentioned the People’s Supreme Court president, Rubén Remigio Ferrio, according to the state newspaper Granma.

This is the same judge who this past July spoke much more conciliatory words, “Diverse political opinions, including those of a political nature that differ from the prevailing politics in the country, do not constitute a crime, thinking differently, questioning what is being done, that in and of itself does not constitute a crime. Furthermore, protesting, far from constituting a crime, constitutes the people’s constitutional right.”

Nonetheless, for a long time, Remigio Fierro has been considered a hard-line partisan and, for this reason, has been included on FDHC’s list of Cuban oppressors since May 2019.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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