14ymedio, Havana, 24 January 2022 — Yosvany Rosell García Caso, for whom the Prosecutor’s Office requested 30 years in the trial in Holguín for sentencing on January 14, has been on a hunger strike for ten days in protest of what he considers an unjust sentence. As confirmed to this newspaper by his wife, Mailin Sánchez, he is the only one who continues to be a plantado* out of the defendants who went on a hunger strike in the same prison.
Mailin Sánchez says that this Sunday a State Security agent called her to tell her that she had to appear at the prison on Monday morning, but that her husband did not want to see her. “He does not want to receive visits, he did not want to talk to me, he continues in the position of being a plantado in respnse to the unjust request of 30 years,” she says.
Sánchez says that her husband is in the infirmary because his health is deteriorating. “I spoke with the doctor and she tells me that the analyses that they did today are already altered, there is already damage to his health, that he has lost a lot of weight,” she says, adding that García Caso “does not have the right to calls at this time.”
“They are destroying this family,” Mailin Sánchez denounces in a video, accompanied by her three children, where she also asserts that her family “wants him free and at home now.”
In addition to García Caso, two other political prisoners continue on hunger strike: the artist and leader of the San Isidro Movement Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, in Havana, and Chadrián Vila Sequin, in Matanzas.
At the same time, the case of Walnier Luis Aguilera Rivera, one of those arrested after the July 11 demonstration in the La Güinera neighborhood, Havana, sentenced to 23 years in prison, has been brought before the United Nations.
The Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) has denounced his case before the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Aguilera Rivera, who suffers from mental retardation, according to his father, was sentenced on December 23 for the crime of “sedition” and is in the Combinado del Este maximum security prison.
“The denial of a forensic medical/psychiatric test in the investigative and judicial phase certified the predisposition to convict him,” explains the OCDH in a statement published this Monday, detailing that the young man was arbitrarily arrested on July 20 and his whereabouts were unknown for seven days.
“He was confined alongside common criminals,” says the Madrid-based organization. “He was prevented from having immediate access to his parents, to the medications he requires, and to lawyers.”
The clinical history of Aguilera Rivera, continues the Observatory, “is evidence that he has required special psychiatric treatment since he was a child.” The Diagnosis and Orientation Center certified since 2014 that he had “special educational needs, due to suffering from intellectual disability.” For this reason, and since then, “he is permanently medicated” and, in addition, he was not required to undertake Compulsory Military Service, for “borderline intellectual functioning” and being an “unfit subject” to assume natural or daily obligations.
The OCDH also emphasizes that the “criminal figure of sedition” serves the regime to “sow terror in the Cuban population,” since “it foresees sentences that range between 10 and 20 years in prison, or the possible death penalty.”
Among the four trials for 11J that will take place this week in Cuba, for a total of 39 detainees, is that of the opposition figure Félix, who will be tried in Matanzas. Accused of “public disorder” and “attack,” Navarro faces a sentence of 15 years in prison.
Navarro, 68 years old and a former prisoner of the Black Spring of 2003, was one of the few from the Group of 75, after his release in 2011, who refused to leave the Island.
He was arrested, along with other prominent figures of the opposition, in the heat of the demonstrations on July 11. Specifically, as recorded by the group Justicia 11J, his arrest occurred on the morning of the next day, when he was inquiring about the situation of other detainees in the municipality of Perico.
President of the Pedro Luis Boitel Abraham Party for Democracy and a member of the Democratic Action Unity Table (Muad), the opponent is being held in the Combinado del Sur prison in Matanzas, where he has suffered from covid-19. In September he staged a hunger strike for three weeks in protest against the accusations against him.
In the same trial, his daughter Saily Navarro, a Lady in White and a promoter of Cuba Decide, is facing a trial with the prosecutor, Idania Miranda Ferrer, asking for 11 years for the crimes of “public disorder,” “disrespect” and “attack.” Currently, she is under house arrest.
According to a complaint by the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP), its executive director, Alberto Corzo, and several reporters from the independent outlet Cocodrilo Callejero are “besieged in their homes” in Matanzas by agents of the National Revolutionary Police and State Security.
If something is surprising about this week’s trials, it is the, once again, high sentences that weigh on the 21 accused in Havana, between the 19 years in prison that Liliana Oropesa Ferrer faces and the 26 years requested by the prosecutor of the Municipal Court of October 10, Gustavo José Mayo González, for Alejaime Lambert Reyes.
*Translator’s note: A ’plantado’ — literally ’planted’ — is a term with a long history in Cuba and is used to describe a political prisoner who refuses to cooperate in any way with their incarceration.
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