“We Were Attacked in a Sadistic Way by the Police,” Denounces Cuban Professor Alina Bárbara López

The professor apologizes to other victims for not having believed until today that the regime was capable of such violence

Professor Alina Bárbara López is now accused of assault./ Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 20 June 2024 — Almost 24 hours after arriving at her home following her arrest on Tuesday, professor and activist Alina Bárbara López Hernández has released a video on the YouTube channel of the Cuba X Cuba Civic Thinking laboratory that she co-directs, in which she denounces the violence of her arrest and the escalation in the persecution she suffers by the Cuban regime, which now accuses her of a crime of assault, the most serious one attributed to her.

The intellectual has explained in detail how an arrest took place in which she defended herself from the violent methods the agents used against her to accuse her of an ordinary offense. “The evident intention with this case is to involve me in a new ordinary process because all this comes out as an ordinary criminal offense, not a political crime. At no time do they charge me for trying to express myself, not at all. Now it turns out I assaulted an agent, “she says.

López Hernández was heading to Havana on Tuesday, accompanied by anthropologist Jenny Pantoja Torres, to demonstrate, as she has been doing since March 2023 on the 18th of each month. This date refers to the centenary of the Protest by the Thirteen Intellectuals against the corruption of the then Alfredo Zayas’s Government. Both were intercepted at a checkpoint by an agent who, with “very rude” manners according to the professor, told her to get in the patrol car.

“The evident intention with this case is to involve me in a new ordinary process because all this comes out as an ordinary criminal offence, not a political crime. “

The events were precipitated when López requested the arrest warrant or, at least, the reason for an arrest, and the agent refused. Thus, the situation ended when the official executed “a martial arts technique” by pushing her legs. This destabilized the 59-year-old professor, who fell on her back and hit her head. “I did not lose consciousness, but I was very disoriented because it was a strong blow,” she recalls. The teacher recalls a distortion in her senses that made her fear brain damage, so she refused to get up when the officer ordered her to.

At that moment two officers appeared in another patrol car and dragged her to a car while her friend took off her glasses to avoid further damage. However, that caused her, coupled with the confusion of the moment, not to see well and instinctively to cling to something that turned out to be an epaulet from the police uniform. “It looks like I ripped it off or, at the very least, loosened it, I didn’t keep it in my hand,” she explains. The accusation of assault that now weighs on her is based on that event.

López Hernández goes over other violent moments, including when they grabbed her hair and jerked her head. This caused severe pain in her neck, already damaged due to age and poor posture typical of her profession. As a result, the medical examination she underwent on Friday showed post-traumatic labyrinthitis – an inflammation of an area of the inner ear that regulates balance and that should improve in about three months. In addition, she mentions how the agent climbed on top of Jenny Pantoja, squeezing her chest tightly while she was screaming she could not breathe.

“I grabbed some of her hair, but I didn’t have the strength to pull it, because my head was twisted forward. Then Jenny also somehow grabs the officer to defend herself, that’s all we did: instinctively try to save ourselves, “she confirms. Due to these events, Pantoja will also be accused of assault.

As a result of this, a post-traumatic labyrinthitis was found in the medical examination she underwent this Friday

Another violent moment was still to come. When the vehicle was already heading to the station, the professor decided to lie down in the car to calm her discomfort and rested her feet on the door. “When she saw that I did that, she stopped the car, said to the other officer: ‘You drive.‘ She got in the back with me, and took out a pair of handcuffs,” she describes. The agent, who squeezed her handcuffs considerably and increased her pain, told her she would go like this to the station: “So you can learn.”

Upon her arrival, the agent was checked by a doctor for the”aggression” charge on which they will support the case that, according to the then detainee, did not conveniently occur in front of the cameras to prevent everything from being filmed and to be able to make “a false accusation.” The professor recalls that in June 2023, when she was arrested and accused of disobedience, the events occurred in a public place, with witnesses, which forced the political police to withdraw the charge of assault, but this time they did it better, she observes.

López Hernández praises her friend Jenny Pantoja, who never wanted to leave her alone. “She was a great person, very good friend and very brave, and she stayed. Now, although we are both co-accused, my statements help her and her statements help me, ”she adds. Both will be represented by the same lawyer, who was present at the interrogations of the two activists.

“Be honest, just admit that Cuba is being governed as a state of exception, outside the Constitution

“We were attacked savagely, in a sadistic way, without any justification. Simply put, what they want is for us not to exercise our rights, “she adds. López Hernández is proud of having said two things in front of State Security’s cameras that set her stand. Firstly, she regretted that the same camera had not been used to film her arrest; secondly: “Be honest, you just have to admit Cuba is being governed as a state of exception, outside the Constitution.”

The intellectual adds that she now has an order of “house confinement” that prevents her from moving to Havana. “Well, that does not matter. In Matanzas, the Parque de la Libertad is still in the same place and they won’t be able to move it from there,” she warns.

The professor announced the posting of the video apologizing for her time defending the regime. “What you will hear is very serious, they are things that years ago I myself would not have believed. My apologies to all those who have suffered something like this and were not properly accompanied.”

Her statements close with a call for harmony and dialogue, despite the brutality with which she is treated. “What has happened neither discourages me nor frightens me nor will it make me an entrenched person, a person who does not want dialogue. I do want to continue the dialogue. I want the way out for Cuba to be peaceful, it is the Cuban Government that does not want it. But I’m not going to get tired of demanding it. ”

Translated by LAR


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