Cuba’s Judiciary handed down prison sentences ranging from 4 to 30 years to the July 11 demonstrators who filled the streets demanding an improvement to their living conditions, it was reported Thursday.
The Havana regime accused 127 protesters of “violently subverting the constitutional order.”
“The Court has notified the sentences, in which it has considered proven and demonstrated that on July 11, 2021, in the Esquina de Toyo, municipality of Diez de Octubre, obeying instructions given by people both from Cuba and from abroad, the defendants, attempted to subvert the constitutional order in a violent manner,” the Supreme Court said in a press release.
According to the statement, the defendants were “accused of committing and provoking serious disturbances and acts of vandalism, with the purpose of destabilizing public order, collective security, and citizen tranquility.”
The magistrates maintained that “these events were deliberately organized in the midst of the complex situation that the country was going through, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the province of Havana.”
Those sentenced have been condemned to between 4 and 30 years in prison depending on “the degree of participation.”
Most defendants will spend over 10 years in jail and 31 of them were sentenced to more than 20 years, Cuba’s Supreme Court said. Giuseppe Belaunzarán Guada and Brayan Piloto Pupo, both 16 years old, were sentenced to 10 years. The government claims they are not minors because the Cuban penal code allows for the prosecution of those over 16. But other laws set the legal age at 18.
Adolescents aged 17 and 18 also received long sentences. Kendry Miranda Cárdenas, 17, was sentenced to 19 years on sedition charges. Rowland Jesús Castillo Castro and Lázaro Noel Urgelles Fajardo will serve 18 and 14 years in jail, respectively.
Those found guilty will also have to ”compensate the persons who were injured as a consequence of the acts committed and (…)) repair the damages caused to the entities.“
According to the US Embassy, ”the Cuban regime has sent a message today saying that they protect Human Rights while also sentencing dozens of 11J demonstrators to sentences ranging from 30 to 4 years for exercising their freedom of expression.“
On July 11, thousands of Cubans took to the streets calling for ”an end to the dictatorship.” The protests were mainly peaceful, but some demonstrators overturned some police cars and stoned some food stores and police stations. Cuban authorities tracked down and arrested at least 1,442 protesters, including teenagers and children as young as 12.
Some parents of the defendants have told reporters that some of the sentences were even increased in retaliation for the families’ criticism, such as in the case of Brandon David Becerra Curbelo, who was first sentenced to five years’ house arrest and then it was changed into a 13-year jail mandate.