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Cuba on International Human Rights Day: Scandalous 11-J Repression Stats

Of the more than 1,303 Cubans arrested after the historic protests, at least 700 are still being held.

The island, turned into a prison.
The island, turned into a prison. Diario de Cuba

On the day the world commemorates UN General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Cuba more than 700 people remain imprisoned for exercising fundamental human rights enshrined in said document after last July hundreds of citizens in more than 50 cities and towns across the island took to the streets to express their discontent with the government and to demand "freedom."

Thanks to the work of human rights organizations, such as the Cubalex Legal Information Center, and groups that emerged after the historic protests, such as Justicia 11J, the regime's repression has been thoroughly exposed and documented.

DIARIO DE CUBA has compiled the main numbers related to Miguel Díaz-Canel's repressive response to Cubans' desire for change.

A total of 1,303 people on the island were arrested in the wake of the 11-J protests. By province, those with the highest numbers of arrests were Havana, with 439, of which only 142 occurred in La Güinera, Arroyo Naranjo municipality; Santiago de Cuba, with 189; Mayabeque, with 100 documented, of them only 22 in Surgidero de Batabanó, and Artemisa, and Holguín, with 96 arrests each.

Next, in decreasing order, were Villa Clara (90), Matanzas (86:22 in the municipality of Colón alone), Camagüey (61), Cienfuegos (29), Guantánamo (19), Sancti Spíritus (18), Las Tunas (16), Isla de la Juventud (15), Granma (11), Ciego de Ávila (7), and Pinar del Río (4). When this article went to press note, Cubalex had not been able to identify the origins of three detainees.

The legal guidance center also verified that 52 people had suffered "forced disappearances" in the days after the 11-J arrests, 35 fell ill with Covid-19 in prison, and 10 people were put behind bars despite suffering psychiatric problems.

The latest data revealed that 553 people have been released from prison, but 701 protesters remain incarcerated.

Of the 67 people that the Government recognized in August as the only detainees, and who were convicted in summary trials, the group #Justicia11J has been able to identify only 42. At least four other people have been subjected to these proceedings since then.

As a result of these expedited trials, 16 people were sentenced to a year of imprisonment, 1 to 11 months; 13 to 10 months, 2 to 9 months, 8 to 8 months, it was not possible to confirm one's sentence, and only one was acquitted.

314 Cubans are still awaiting trials after prosecutors have brought charges against them. 119 people being tried for the events of 11-J are out on bail, as a precautionary measure; 611 are in pre-trial detention; and another 51 protesters are subjected to precautionary house arrest.
93 people have been sanctioned with fines. The measures against 294 other protesters could not be verified by Cubalex.

The 314 requests by prosecutors against 11-J protesters include sentences ranging from one to 30 years of imprisonment (137 on charges of sedition).

The crime of disturbing the peace has been invoked by the Cuban regime to prosecute practically all those arrested for protesting. A total of 123 Cubans are accused only of this crime.

In addition to disturbing the peace, protestors have also been accused of contempt, resisting arrest, disobedience, instigating commission of a crime, spreading an epidemic, sexual abuse, desecrating national symbols, slandering institutions, heroes and martyrs; escape by prisoners and detainees; and sedition, among other less common ones.

Thus, 46 people are being accused of "disturbing the peace, contempt, attacks, illicit associations, meetings and demonstrations; spreading an epidemic; another 32 are accused of "disturbing the peace, contempt, instigating crime, and resisting arrest"; 30 are being tried for "disturbing the peace, contempt, attacks, the defamation of institutions, heroes and martyrs; and disobedience"; 137 people are accused of "sedition", of which 11 are also accused of the crimes of "disturbing the peace, attacks and instigating crimes"; two, in addition, face charges for "damages and injuries" and another three for "theft".

By age group, the Justicia11J group has been able to verify the arrest of 17 people over 60 years of age, including dissidents like Félix Navarro Rodríguez (68), for whom the Prosecutor has requested a joint sanction of 15 years of imprisonment; Francisco Rangel Manzano, facing  seven years in prison for disturbing the peace and contempt; and Pedro Albert Sánchez (65), arrested for the 11J protests and, again, on November 3 for stating that he would march on 15-N.

Justicia11J and Cubalex have addressed separately the question of minors ages 14 - 18 arrested during the protestors. 66 adolescents were included on the list. However, the activists were only able to document the arrest of 45 minors (33 of them verified). 31 have been released from prison and 14 remain in custody. A total of 21 are being charged with the crime of sedition.

At the age of 17, Amanda Hernández Celaya, Gabriela Zequeira and Katherine Martín were among those tried in the summary trials. Hernández Celaya was acquitted. Zequeira and Martín were sentenced to one year of imprisonment, a sentence that, on appeal, was reduced to correctional work.

Accused of sedition were the adolescents Brayan Piloto Pupo (16 years old), Alexander Morejón Hernández (17), Kendry Miranda Cárdenas (17), Lázaro Noel Urgellés Fajardo (17), Nelson Néstor Rivero Garzón (17), Brandon David Becerra Curbelo (18), Rowland Jesús Castillo Castro (18) Emiyoslan Román Rodríguez (18), Giuseppe Belaunzaran Guada (16), Ernesto Abelardo Martínez Pérez (17), Keyla Roxana Mulet Calderón (17), Samuel Torres Durán (17) and Yeral Michel Palacios Román (17).

Among the minors prosecuted for the events of 11-J, without the Prosecutor's request being known, are Leosvani Giménez Guzmán (15 years old), Rubén Alejandro Parra Ricardo (15), William Chenier Ríos Arrieta (16), Yanquier Sardiñas Franco (17) and Yerman David Gutiérrez Dueñas (17).

Other minors are Jonathan Torres Farrat (17), accused of disturbing the peace and attacks; Jonathan Pérez Ramos (16), disturbing the peace and attacks; Rey Alejandro Martínez Tamayo (17), disturbing the peace, attacks and instigating the commission of a crime; Raúl Xavier Díaz Pérez (17), accused of the crimes of sabotage, disturbing the peace and contempt.

The real numbers related to the repression of 11-J in Cuba could be even more scandalous. Regarding these figures, human rights organizations have clarified: "Our list represents an underreporting of the arrests." Thus, they have appealed for citizens' assistance to "identify everyone and demand justice."

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