Cuban artists and dissidents Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara s Michael Castillo Perez “El Osorbo” On Friday, they were sentenced to 5 and 9 years in prisonrespectively, in It is a sentence that has been strongly criticized by NGOs and international human rights organizations.
The verdicts – which can still be appealed – were announced by a press release issued by the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Cuba (FGR) on Friday morning.
Otero Alcantara has been convicted of crimes.”Anger at the symbols of the homeland, contempt, and general chaos“El Osorbo was sentenced to…”Contempt, attack, public disorder, defamation of institutions, organizations, heroes and martyrs“.
This decision was announced about a month after the trial that took place in the Marianao Municipal Court in Havana on May 30 and 31.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested 7 years in prison for Otero Alcantara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI) and had been imprisoned since July 11; and 10 years for Castillo Perez, co-author of the song “Patria y vida” – one of the July 11 anti-government protests – and more than a year in prison.
From the start, the process has been against artists – who qualify as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International (AI) – It has been criticized by international NGOswho talked about Accountability, Fabrication of Evidence, Absence of Safeguards and Restrictions on Access to Hearings.
The reason was not related to the anti-government protests last year, but because Some of the events that happened on April 4, 2021. On that day, according to the prosecutor’s office, Osorbo went on tour with some customers, apparently due to the fact that his companion was not wearing a mask.
Castillo Perez managed to escape, with some handcuffs on his wrist, and went to Otero Alcantara’s house, where, according to the USF account, he chanted anti-regime slogans.
The prosecutor’s office also collected past facts in its petitions, such as “offensive writings against science” on networks and “memes” on Facebook “to ridicule and discredit” Cuban dictator Miguel Diaz-Canel..
next to them, The court sentenced Joselide Justiz Lazo and Reina Sierra Duvergil to 5 years in prison for attacking opponents Felix Roque Delgado and 3 years of correctional labor without arrest.. The court held that it had established that they all assisted the Asorbo in resisting his arrest.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office said in its memorandum issued on Friday that the court considered that it had established that Otero Alcantara had “The explicit intent, continuing over time, to offend the national flag, by posting pictures on social networks where they are used to discredit the flag.“.
FGR hinted at Drapeau’s performance, as the MSI captain used the flag on his body for a month.
Likewise, it asserted that Castillo Perez “used false images” “to insult the honor and dignity of the highest authorities in the country, and to offend their dignity.”
Pictures in the official press
Several European ambassadors and human rights organizations tried unsuccessfully to reach the court during the trials. The hearings were held in the midst of an intense police operation in the vicinity of the court.
Although international and independent media were not allowed in, hours after the convictions were announced, the island’s official press published photos of the trial for the first time.
State television highlighted that the penalties had nothing to do with the political beliefs of Otero Alcantara and Osorbo, but rather to commit “common crimes”.
in the recordings, Al Jazeera news highlighted Castillo Perez’s statement that the chamber that tried him was “professional.”.
In the same vein, the official website Cubadebate Publication of the proceedings of the hearings – titled “Public Crimes Will Never Be Political” – criticized in them”media manipulationabout the process.
In its statement, the FGR highlighted that “the defendants heard” and that “in their presence the testimony, documentary and specialized evidence” proposed by the parties.
The rulings were met with a barrage of criticism from NGOs such as Cubalex, PEN International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and AI..
In a statement issued on Friday, Kobalex stressed that the crimes for which they were punished “are not in line with international human rights standards” and are incompatible with freedom of expression..
The organization also stressed that behind the sanctions “The criminal policy of the state to achieve a deterrent effect, to prevent the rest of society, out of fear, from expressing themselves freely“.
In a similar tone he spoke on Twitter Erika Guevara Rosadirector of the Americas for Artificial Intelligence, who described the sentence as “shameful“To judge that”Judicial Circus“.
Added to Guevara Rosa’s review John PapierSenior Researcher at Human Rights Watch for the Americas:This decision is a farce that openly violates freedom of expression and association“, pointed out.
(With information from EFE)