14ymedio, Havana, 11 May 2023 — Prisoners Defenders (PD) denounced this Thursday that at the end of April in Cuban prisons there were 1,048 political prisoners. Although there were 18 fewer than in March, the organization, based in Madrid, points out in its latest monthly report that “more cases of minors have emerged,” and that there has been an exacerbation in the poor conditions for trans women.
In its latest report, the organization details that in April, 24 new political prisoners were admitted and 42 were released. Most of those who regained their freedom did so after the “complete fulfillment” of their sentences. As for those who came out before, it was because the defense managed to demonstrate wrongdoing and irregularities in the criminal proceedings.
PD emphasizes an increase in the number of imprisoned minors, who in April totaled 35 (two more than in March). Of these, four are girls, who are serving sentences or are in criminal proceedings. The organization points out that “a good part” are in penitentiary centers that the Government euphemistically calls “Integral Training Schools.”
At least 18 children were accused or convicted of the charge of sedition, one of the most severe charges in the Criminal Code, which the regime has used to punish the participants of the massive protests of July 11, 2021. “The average sentence for these convicted minors is five years of deprivation of liberty, a punishment on average higher than that suffered, before 11J [the nationwide protests of 11 July 2021], by adults in political prison,” says PD.
In the list of the 28 new prisoners in April, the report adds, there are three women, reaching a total of 118 inmates in the country, including several transgender prisoners. The best-known case is that of Brenda Díaz, sentenced by the regime to 14 years and seven months in prison on charges of public disorder, sabotage and contempt after her participation in 11J.
In a new clash, Díaz responded this week to the statements of Mariela Castro, director of the National Center for Sexual Education of Cuba (Cenesex), who described her situation as “exaggerated and full of fantasies.” Díaz invited the leader to visit the prisons without prior notice to verify the real conditions of the detainees.
“All trans women prisoners have been and are imprisoned among men, which also happens with ordinary trans prisoners, suffering indescribable situations for their sexual condition,” the NGO says in its report.
Similarly, the organization denounces that the Cuban authorities intimidate detainees with “taking away their children for the exercise of their freedom of expression,” alluding to the new provisions in the Family Code that allow the suspension of parental responsibility when “vicious, corrupt or criminal behavior is observed.”
PD says Lizandra Góngora Espinosa is in this position, and the Government has threatened to take custody of the five children from her and her husband if they continue with human rights activism. Góngora was transferred to a prison on the Isla de la Juventud, with “the cruel purpose of preventing her children from visiting her,” the report says.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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