Trial Date Set for Luis Robles, the ‘Guy with the Placard’

Prosecutors have asked that Luis Robles be sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly spreading “enemy propaganda.” (Captura)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, July 9, 2021 — The trial of Luis Robles Elizastigui, an activist arrested on December 4, 2020 for staging a protest on Havana Boulevard, will be on July 16 in the Municipal Court of October 10. This was confirmed by his brother, Landy Fernández Elizastigui, in a statement given to Radio and Television Martí.

The 28-year-old Robles, who has been held in Combinado del Este prison for seven months, was arrested after holding a placard that read, “Freedom, not repression, #FreeDenis” in reference to  dissident rapper Denis Solís, who was tried several weeks prior for “contempt” and who had been scheduled for release on July 9.

“The attorney informed me that Luis’ trial would take place on the 16th. He said they would only communicate with him by phone,” said Fernandez, who has reported that Robles has complained of being tortured and mistreated while in custody.

The attorney also informed him that only one family member of the accused would be allowed to attend the trial.

Fernandez has also been trying to make sure his brother gets a good defense. After many attorneys declined to take the case, he found one who agreed on the condition his name would not be made public.

Prosecutors have asked that Luis Robles be sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly spreading “enemy propaganda” and one year for “resistance.”

Although initially charged with “threats to state security” and terrorism, the police did find not sufficient evidence to charge him with these crimes. In January 2021 Robles was declared a prisoner of conscience by Cuban Prisoners Defenders.

All of the lawyer’s requests for injunctions on behalf of his client, as well as a request that his client be released pending trial, were rejected.

In mid-March, Julie Chung, Acting Assistant-Secretary at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, referred to Robles in a tweet: “No one should be jailed for carrying a placard.”

The Lithuanian parliament also referred to Robles’ case in June when it unanimously approved a resolution condemning the Cuban government for repression, harassment of activists and the country’s dire economic situation. It called for the “immediate and unconditional release of more than a hundred political prisoners,” citing the persecution of Luis Robles, Maykel Castillo, Denis Solís and those arrested on Obispo Street.


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