Cuban authorities begin to punish young protesters in summary trials

Cuban officials have begun to prosecute participants in recent unprecedented anti-government protests in a summary trial initiated this week, families and activists told the Miami Herald.

Young people are one of the main targets, even for minors.

Photographer Anyelo Troya, 25, was tried on Tuesday and sentenced to one year in prison for “public turmoil,” family and activists told Herald.

“They didn’t let me see him,” his mother, Liza Gonzalez, said in a short telephone interview.

She went looking for a lawyer on Monday after learning that her son had been detained at the feared “100 and Aldabo” police station. But it was too late when they returned to see him on Tuesday.

“When we arrived, he was said to be on trial in the court of Dies de Octobre. [on the other end of Havana].. I went in a hurry, but arrived too late. She said he had already been tried with 10 other young protesters.

“Where is my son Anyelo Troya González entitled to a transparent trial?” Gonzales wrote on Twitter. “I’m confused by the reality in which I live.”

Troya was involved in the production of the video for the viral song.Patria y Vida, ”Featured members of the San Isidro artist activist movement. The song soon became an anti-government national anthem, with thousands of demonstrators saying “Patria y Vida— Homeland and Life — In some cities during protest.

Officials told the family that dance student Amanda Seraya, 17, will be tried on Thursday.

“Finally, my niece Amanda Hernandez Celaya was released last night and stayed home until Thursday 22nd. She is on trial. What is she blaming?” “Confused,” wrote independent journalist Miriam Celaya on Facebook.

Cuban activist Miriam Seraya (center) met with President Barack Obama at the US Embassy in Havana in March 2016. Celaya's niece was arrested by Cuban authorities after a protest on July 11.

Cuban activist Miriam Seraya (center) met with President Barack Obama at the US Embassy in Havana in March 2016. Celaya’s niece was arrested by Cuban authorities after a protest on July 11.

Miriam Seraya told Herald that she was arrested in Havana on Sunday for seeing her niece recording a demonstration on her cell phone. “She isn’t involved in politics. Apparently she was recording a demonstration on her cell phone,” she said.

Visual artist and activist Camilla Robon, who helped to find out more about the arrested people, said in a telephone interview with two other cases of upcoming protesters, actor Alexander Diego Gil. He said he knew Randy Arteaga. ..

“Alteaga was detained in Villa Clara, and he is the only child of an old couple. He is their only provider. They have no money to pay a lawyer,” Robon said. “They don’t even have a phone, so activists have to go to their home to communicate with them.

“It’s an unstable situation for many families,” she added. “There is legally ignorance of what they should do. There is a sense of helplessness and fear in retaliation when many fear authorities speak.”

The summary trial, which began early in the revolution, is not a thing of the past in Cuba. These have been used in cases involving opponents and people allegedly violating COVID-19 government regulations.

“This is a clear procedure for minor crimes,” said Cuban lawyer Laritza Diversent. “A summary hearing can cut the time required for a normal procedure in half. Someone can be sent to trial at any time between 2 and 45 days. The text is communicated verbally. The entire process. There is little documentation, making it difficult to appeal. It’s very arbitrary. “

It is unknown why some demonstrators were released and others were brought to trial. Authorities alleged that the indicted people committed violent crimes, and many had criminal records, which do not fit the current profiles of some people, such as Celaya and Troya.

“The fact that they are prosecuting people in public turmoil shows that they are just peaceful protesters and not committing crimes,” Robon said in a telephone interview.

She said public disability accusations are frequently used against opponents and activists like her who participate in public demonstrations against the government. She was one of the young artists arrested after protesting in front of the Ministry of Culture last year. She says police and state guards have prevented her from leaving the house for the past 29 days.

“So far, there have been 537 documented detentions. All of them could not be involved in’vandalism’,” she said, referring to a version forged by the Cuban government.

Several videos published on social media by Cubans on the island record how police, military personnel, and pro-government mobs defeated demonstrators. Some videos show police officers shooting protesters.

But on state television, the official version was the opposite.

The interior ministry colonel Moraima Bravet Garófalo said the demonstration was violent and “was done using stones and knives such as machetes to attack law enforcement agencies.” State television only shows images of capsized police cars and people looting government discount stores selling long-awaited food and necessities.

The Colonel also said that minors would not be prosecuted. Cuba is 18 years of age, but national law allows people over the age of 16 to be charged. People between the ages of 17 and 20, like Seraya, serve in separate prison facilities or in different prison buildings.

Government officials also denied that there were “missing” or “tortured” people on the island on Tuesday, saying the list of detainees edited by activists and international human rights groups was incorrect.

The refusal came after a statement by college student Leonard Romero after a round on social media.

Romero told a pro-government youth publication, LaJoven Cuba, A police officer beat him after being arrested in Havana on Sunday.

“They took me to the Dragons station, and when we got in, they threw me hard on the floor and four kicked me around,” he said. “I covered my face with my forearm and they kept kicking me. That’s why I have a swollen forearm, the doctor saw it. My ribs also hurt.”

Romero was then taken to the courtyard, where another police officer said he had hit his leg with a wooden board. Then another policeman head-butted his nose, saying he did because Romero was a “mercenary” before he was transferred to another police station.

“I almost fainted, and they kept hitting me before moving me to Zanja station,” Romero said.

The fact that his comments were published on the website used to attack the dissidents shows how widespread dissatisfaction with the government’s crackdown on young protesters is.

Herald could not independently verify Romero’s testimony. After his case was mentioned on state television on Tuesday, he told a friend he hadn’t had any more media interviews for the time being. A government prosecutor, without mentioning his name, said his case was being investigated after his father filed a formal complaint with the Cuban Attorney General’s office.

Robon said the list of detainees she assisted in editing and confirming facts was based on information provided by family and friends, and released official arrest numbers following protests across the island. I asked the government.

“The Cuban legal system is a black hole, and when you go through it, you are helpless,” she said. “Most of the people arrested did not commit crimes, but they want to make their official example. The summary exam has just begun, but there are many more.”

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