Another 15 9/11 protesters in Cuba were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison

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So far some 700 sentences have been handed down for the opposition protests on July 11, 2021

Another 15 protesters of 11J in Cuba were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison< /p>File photo: Plainclothes policemen detain a person during anti-government protests in Havana, Cuba, on July 11, 2021 (REUTERS/Stringer)

A Havana court sentenced them to sentences ranging from four years of “limited freedom” to 13 years in prison for 15 protesters on July 11, 2021 (J11), the largest protests against the Cuban regime in decades.

According to the ruling, dated January 23 and to which the news agency EFE had access, the People's Provincial Court of Havana convicted them of “sedition”, but handing down sentences that are mostly less than those requested by the Prosecutor's Office.

The sentence -which is not final and therefore can still be appealed- corresponds to a trial carried out last November and that caused great media attention on the island.

Among the courts was Jonathan Torres, a young man who was 17 years old at the time of the facts (the only minor in this process). The minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16. He is one of the 55 people between the ages of 16 and 17 who have faced criminal proceedings for the events of 9/11, as confirmed by the Cuban Attorney General's Office.

< p class="paragraph">In the case of Torres, the court sentenced him to a four-year “limitation of freedom” sentence (when the prosecution requested five). This means that he will not enter prison, but that his movements will be controlled by a judge.

Similarly, there are three sanctioned with correctional work without internment and another three with internment.

Another 15 protesters of 11J in Cuba were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison

Police detain an anti-government protester during a protest in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021 (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Speaking to EFE, Orlando Ramírez, the husband of Torres' mother, described the process as a “show” and, although he considered the ruling a “victory”, added that “really (the trial against his stepson) is a mistake because he did nothing.”

In total, a cumulative 75 years in prison were handed down for the demonstrators.

The court considered as proven facts that the convicted persons mobilized in the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo with “the purpose of generating the destabilization of the social and political order established in the Republic of Cuba”.

They were also accused of throwing stones and shouting slogans against the president of the country, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

However, according to the document, at least three of the defendants denied having been present during the events.

Two of the defendants' mothers were called to testify but declined.

Another 15 protesters of 11J in Cuba were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison

Police officers run towards demonstrators during protests in Havana, Cuba, on July 11, 2021 (REUTERS/Stringer)

Changes of crimes

El The trial was carried out with witnesses presented by the Prosecutor's Office –mostly police officers– who were censured by the defense for their hesitations and changes in their testimonies, according to what EFE learned at the time. > through a source that was inside the room.

Likewise, during the trial the accusation of “attack, public disorder, contempt and incitement to commit a crime” was changed to the crime of “sedition”.

This change caused annoyance between at least two of the lawyers –according to the same source–, because this type of crime implies “an intention to destabilize the order of the State”, in accordance with the Penal Code.

According to they argued, this is not is sustained because the 15 participated in a demonstration that took place far from the headquarters of the powers of the Cuban State.

On one of the days of the trial, two of the lawyers criticized the proceedings against the protesters of 11J, as he was able to find out at that time EFE. One of them said: “It is time for the country to start healing its wounds, it is time for the country to sit down to talk, it is time for the country to create public spaces so that all those people who do not think alike can demonstrate safely and legally without being charged with a crime.”

Another 15 protesters of 11J in Cuba were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison

Police detain an anti-government protester during a protest (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Pardons

Cuban Minister of Justice, Óscar Silvera, held a meeting last week with ambassadors of the European Union (EU) where the pardon of protesters was even raised, according to what EFE learned.

So far some 700 sentences have been handed down< /b>, according to the record kept by organizations such as Justicia 11J and Cubalex. Of these cases, some penalties go up to 30 years in prison for the crime of sedition.

(With information from EFE)

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