Cuban artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo, sentenced in a rigged trial last month, warned that they will not appeal their convictions and demanded their immediate release, activists reported.
According to Claudia Genlui, a personal friend and co-religionist of Otero Alcántara, the artist rejected the review of his case in a second instance and demanded a release from prison “without conditions”. The same position was expressed by Anamely Ramos on behalf of Castillo, better known by his alias “Osorbo”.
“Maykel believes and sends word that he will no longer lend himself to that circus,” Ramos said.
The decision of both was published on the Facebook page of the San Isidro Movement, to which they belong.
Otero Alcántara received a five-year sentence for outrage against national symbols, continued contempt and public disorder. “Osorbo” was sentenced to nine years for assault and defamation of institutions, among other crimes, for attacking a police officer who was trying to arrest him and then fled.
The dictatorship and the Prosecutor’s Office insisted that these are common crimes punishable by law, but the opposition and human rights groups maintain that they are political prisoners. His case drew international attention.
His convictions are not related to the July 2021 demonstrations as they were imprisoned earlier. “Osorbo” is one of the composers of the song Patria y Vida, with a strong political connotation, which was the anthem of the protests on the 11th and 12th of that month.
Alcántara, 34, became known after carrying out provocative performances with the Cuban flag -some considered disrespectful on the island- and for leading the San Isidro Movement, which in 2020 starred in an unusual sit-in of artists.
“Osorbo”, a 39-year-old rapper, was the winner of the Latin Grammy Awards this year. The title of his song is a twist on the official Cuban phrase “Patria o Muerte!”
In the publication of the San Isidro Movement, Genlui indicated that Otero Alcántara had declared a hunger strike. Activists and the artist himself reported on other occasions his decision to refuse food.
Genlui also denounced the poor conditions in the prison and the pressure from the government for Otero Alcántara to leave the country.
For his part, Ramos indicated that “Osorbo” is sick and demanded that he be released so that he can leave Cuba to receive treatment.
CRITICISM OF THE EU
The dictatorship of Alejandro Castro Espín criticized recent statements by European Union (EU) institutions regarding the recent sentences imposed by the island’s justice system on artists and dissidents Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maikel Castillo Pérez.
The general director of bilateral affairs of the island’s Foreign Ministry, Emilio Lozada, said on his Twitter account that the latest statements on Cuba by EU institutions, including those of spokesman Peter Stano, “are contrary to the principles of the Agreement of Political Dialogue and Cooperation (ADPC) between both parties”.
“The EU should abandon its double standards and address serious human rights violations involving its member states,” added the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex) of the Caribbean country.
The spokesman for the EU Foreign Service, Peter Stano, had said in a message through his social networks that the European Union reiterated its “concern” after the sentences imposed on Otero and Castillo, and also urged the Cuban authorities ” to respect all civil and political rights.