The case of the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, released late Friday night, is clear evidence of the hijacking of Cuban justice by State Security, sources consulted by DIARIO DE CUBA confirmed.
After 12 days in preventive custody, and with two trials slated, Otero Alcántara was released without receiving any explanations or information on the status of the proceedings against him.
The enormous pressure for his liberation exerted by renowned Cuban artists and intellectuals, and foreigners, put the regime on the ropes and, ostensibly, produced this outcome. But the authorities' actions mean that Otero Alcántara's fate is still uncertain, in addition to displaying an arbitrariness and illegality unacceptable in any state subject to the rule of law.
The first of the illegalities is that the artist did not receive a release letter, or any other document, upon being discharged from Havana's Valle Grande prison, where he was being held.
Several questions also loom: what happened to the summary proceedings against him, which had already exceeded the 10 days scheduled for their completion? And what happened to the habeas corpus writ presented before the Criminal Chamber of the Provincial Court of Havana by curator Claudia Genlui, Otero Alcántara's partner?
Also, was the artist released subject to any kind of security measure? If so, which? What are the current charges against him, or has he been fully exonerated?
In Cuba, the deadline to announce any legal decision is 7 PM. What happened between that hour, when Alcántara's release should have been announced by the Court, and the late hours of the night, when he was released? The time between 7 PM and the artist's night-time liberation, thus, constitutes illegal imprisonment, by the Cuban judicial system's own rules.
According to criminal law on the island, such decisions are to be communicated in writing, through resolutions called providencias, autos or sentencias. The fact that Otero Alcántara was never so informed is illegal and reveals, in addition to the regime's secrecy, its fear.