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The Interpol, trials in absentia, extradition: the Cuban regime reveals its arsenal against alleged terrorists

It says that is has the tools in and outside Cuba to bring to justice alleged perpetrators of crimes defined by the Prosecutor's Office as imprescriptible.

State Security State Security Chief Investigator Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Estrada.
State Security State Security Chief Investigator Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Estrada. PL/Hacemos Cuba

On Tuesday Cuban authorities appeared in a "special broadcast" of the propaganda TV program Hacemos Cuba, where they unveiled the arsenal of laws against people and organizations on and off the island that the regime is investigating for alleged terrorist acts and whose names appear on a list  recently published in the Official State Gazette.

The Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, Marcos Caraballo, said that dangerous crimes carry sanctions in the Criminal Code of 10 to 30 years of incarceration, and even life imprisonment and the death penalty for the worst cases, according to a summary published by Prensa Latina.

Caraballo said that the Prosecutor's Office carries out "rigorous work so that the accused do not go unpunished."

According to the official, these are "imprescriptible crimes, and it is up to the Prosecutor's Office to oversee the investigation to establish rights and guarantees and obtain evidence for subsequent convictions."

With reference to the legal implications for people who are on this list and live outside of Cuba, he said that the regime's laws "are informed by international regulations."

"Cuba can ask other nations for extradition, and also provides for international criminal assistance, such as joint investigations, seizures of funds and the taking of statements for the carrying out of effective investigations outside national borders," he added.

He also said that in, this case, it is possible to resort to trials in absentia.

For his part, the head of State Security's investigative body, Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Estrada, said that several of the people designated on the list are subjects of International Police (Interpol) red notices.

According to Estrada, for the investigation of all the accused, both those who are abroad and for those who are in the country, the investigative bodies are backed by "objective evidentiary materials demonstrating their direct participation."

Thus far the alleged evidence comes from the testimony of purported suspects presented in the official media after confessions recorded by the Political Police.

The two authorities again repeatedly stressed their "incitement" of actions affecting the social order in Cuba through violent acts against public officials and the normal functioning of socioeconomic entities, as well as promoting armed aggression.

In the words of both officials, the use of technologies to encourage the execution of terrorist acts, and even contact perpetrators, cannot be considered as freedom of expression.

Deputy Justice Minister Pilar Varona said that all provisions published in the Official Gazette are legally valid, and compliance with its contents is mandatory.

Opposition figures from on and off the island consulted by DIARIO DE CUBA stated that the publication of the list of Cuban organizations and citizens under investigation by the regime for alleged terrorist acts is an act of reprisal by Havana for its inclusion on the US's blacklist.

In the words of historian Manuel Cuesta Morúa, founder of the opposition group Arco Progresista, "it is curious and contradictory that Cuba has given refuge to members of ETA, from Spain, and Americans who killed police officers; that is, citizens who clearly committed crimes defined as acts of terrorism, while people only operating on digital platforms to express their opinions are included on this list."

"The purpose of this national list is symmetrical, bilateral action with the United States. The US Government has included Cuba on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, so the Cuban Government is playing tit for tat, placing Cuban citizens residing in that country on its list. This attempt at political retaliation is a dangerous one, as it is extraterritorial (it deems acts to be crimes that are not conceived as such in any country) and threatens citizens who, we are now learning, are being sought and, eventually, persecuted by the Cuban authorities," said Cuesta Morúa.

Last week the US State Department denied it was planning violent attacks in Cuba, a day after the regime accused Washington of trying to foment unrest before New Year's.

On social media, the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) warned Cubans about alleged "plans by the State Department and the intelligence community to ramp up subversive and violent attacks in Cuba in order to trigger a social outbreak before the end of 2023," a statement echoed by the Communist Party's propaganda machine.

A State Department official rejected this idea in remarks to Reuters: "Allegations that the United States is encouraging violent actions against the Cuban government are absurd."

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