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The US rejects the long prison sentences for Cuban protesters

The US rejects the long prison sentences for Cuban protesters

A few days after one year of the July 11 demonstrations in Cuba, known as 11J, the United States government condemned the long prison sentences to which many of the protesters have been sentenced.

“Cuban judges have sentenced more than 550 Cuban protesters to more than 4,000 years combined,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Thursday.

The 11J protests, which took place in the summer of 2021, have been the largest anti-government demonstrations on the island since 1959, when the late Fidel Castro took power.

The government of President Miguel Díaz-Canel repressed the protesters who, plagued by economic and health shortages, protested amid the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic into the summer.

The State Department regretted that more than 700 of those protesters remain imprisoned, others are serving sentences of house arrest or forced labor.

“Despite video and photographic evidence to the contrary, the Cuban government attempts to justify its draconian arrests, prosecutions, and sentences by falsely claiming that the protests were largely violent,” the statement added.

The judicial role

The State Department points to state prosecutors for having opted for “exemplary” measures against protesters from poor neighborhoods in Havana such as La Güinera and October 10, “with important Afro-Cuban populations” whom it accused of sedition and who received harsh sentences. up to 26 years in prison.

As an example, the complaint cites six defendants who were between the ages of 16 and 17 at the time they were arrested.

In the first half of June, the Cuban Attorney General’s Office announced the conviction of 381 people, including 16 young people between 16 and 18 years of age. Since March of this year, the authorities had only reported a hundred prosecutions.

“Cuban government officials continue to detain, harass, and threaten the mothers of detained protesters who dare to speak publicly about their children,” State denounced.

“Cubans have the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly under the Cuban constitution and as established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the US government lambastes.

The Cuban government has repeatedly accused Washington of promoting social discontent and has partly blamed it on the economic and financial embargo that the US has maintained against the island since 1962.

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Written by Editor TLN

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