Cuban Supreme Court reduces sentences to 15 11J protesters

The Supreme People’s Court of Cuba (TSJ) reduced the prison sentences of 13 demonstrators of the July 11 protests and changed another 2 to a correctional work regimen (in one case without internment).

According to a dispatch from Eph, this review is the first sentence of the TSJ before the appeal of a group of those convicted of the events in the popular neighborhood of La Güinera, in Havana. The new sentence, to which the Spanish agency had access, is firm and sets prison sentences for a total of 179 years, with individual cases of up to 22 years.

Criminal Law and social protest in Cuba

The Supreme Court ruling resolves an appeal filed by the 15 defendants, who argued —among other things— that they should not have been tried for the crime of sedition. Several had been sentenced by the People’s Provincial Court of Havana in the first instance to sentences of up to 30 years in prison.

Some of the demonstrators argued that they should have been prosecuted for crimes such as “public disorder,” while others argued that there was “a breach of procedural formalities” and “individual guarantees” during their trials.

According to the assessments of the Supreme Court, the provincial court “was not wise” by not contemplating in the imposition of the sentences that nine of the accused recognized the facts and collaborated in their clarification.

Likewise, the magistrates indicated that “viewing the facts in their entirety” they describe the sentences in the first instance as “extremely rigorous” and accept the “reason for the appeal requesting generosity” in the case of 11 of those sanctioned.

The trials against the July 11 protesters have been taking place in Cuba since the end of 2021. The NGO Justicia 11J this week placed the number of people tried for these protests at 564.

The Attorney General’s Office assured in January that 790 people have been prosecuted for the protests, of which 55 are between 16 and 17 years old. The minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16. Relatives of those convicted and non-governmental organizations have criticized the trial, alleging lack of guarantees, fabrication of evidence and high sentences.

Foreign media do not have access to trials. Amnesty International requested to be able to attend the trials. For its part, the TSJ ensures that due process has been observed in all cases opened as a result of the 11J protests.

Cuba: 127 people sentenced to between 6 and 30 years for acts related to the 11J protests

The NGO Prisoners Defenders points out that at least 842 people were in prison for political reasons at the end of 2021, mostly for the events of last July.

The Cuban authorities, for their part, deny that there are political prisoners in the country and assure that the trials have to do with “acts of vandalism.”

Efe/OnCuba.

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