- BBC News World
This Wednesday the first prison sentences were known for some of those arrested during the July 11 protests against the Cuban government, the largest in the last six decades.
After a summary trial held on Tuesday in which most did not have a lawyer, 12 detainees received sentences 10 months to 1 year jail.
One of the courts is Anyelo Troy, director of the Cuban section of the video for “Patria y vida”, the song that became an anthem for the protesters for transforming Fidel Castro’s classic motto (“Patria o muerte”).
His mother, Raiza, spoke with BBC Mundo on Monday by phone from Havana: “I am that I have no life. I am on pills. So bad that I cannot even speak. The pain that mothers are causing us is a lot. “.
As confirmed to BBC Mundo by Anyelo’s family, the young man – who was arrested on July 11 while recording the protests – was summarily tried on Tuesday without the presence of a lawyer.
The mother and brother say that on Monday the prison authorities recommended hiring a lawyer and, when they arrived on Tuesday morning with him, they were notified that the young man had already been brought before a court – the Municipal Court of 10 October, a few kilometers from the capital, tried and transferred to another prison.
“We came running with the lawyer and the trial had already concluded. They tried him without a lawyer. There were 12 boys in the same summary trial and only two had a lawyer because the parents found out in time,” Yuri, brother of Anyelo.
The sentence arrived this Wednesday: one year in jail for ten of the accused, and ten months in jail for the remaining two, those who had a lawyer.
Anyelo’s family will file an appeal this week to try to reverse the sentence, which sparked criticism about Cuba’s use of “summary trials.”
The Cuban platform El Toque Jurídico confirmed the veracity of the sentence to the 12 Cubans and also the increasingly common use of summary trials on the island to prosecute people with political ideas opposed to the government.
“If the lawyer does not arrive on time for the trial, his contract will be useless. There are no ways to invalidate a summary process due to the fact that the accused did not have a lawyer,” explain the lawyers of El Toque Jurídico.
Organizations and activists estimate the number of detainees since the July 11 protests at several hundred, most of whom remain in prison – awaiting charges or not – and others have been released.
The President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, promised last week “procedural guarantees, without abuses” for all defendants.
The massive protests took place with the country mired in an economic and health crisis, with the pandemic out of control and a serious shortage of food, medicine and other basic products, in addition to long power cuts.
Cuban authorities insist on blaming the US for both the protests and the extreme shortages that the country suffers.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.