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The Cuban dictatorship sentenced journalist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca to 5 years in prison for calling for free elections

The Cuban journalist and activist Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca – detained since June 2021 – was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the crimes of “ongoing enemy propaganda” for calling for free elections.

In the same case, Alien Tijerino Castro received four years for continued enemy propaganda, Ruslán Hernández Reyes, two years, and Yusniel Milián González, one year, both for enemy propaganda.

The content of the sentence was spread the day before on social networks by the activist Eralidis Frometa, wife of the communicator.

The sentence accuses Valle Roca and Tijerina of having an “illegal and self-styled NGO” called Delibera in which they held meetings “with the aim of planning actions contrary to the social and political system in Cuba”, in addition to filming them and broadcasting them on social networks to “disseminate to the world an image of social and political instability within the country”.

The Castro court points out that Tijerino Castro wrote leaflets with an “approach contrary to the current social and political system in Cuba” and in which legends such as “Patria y Vida” appeared, a song critical of the Cuban government and the motto of the 2021 protests, and “The people demand democracy.”

In addition, the ruling maintains that those sentenced organized a demonstration on June 4, 2021 that was filmed and posted on the Facebook account of the NGO Delibera por Valle Roca.

Days later, adds the sentence, the convicts threw away the printed leaflets at different points while the journalist recorded it to later upload it to the NGO’s networks.

“According to the Court, these phrases that speak of freedom and basic human rights that do not prescribe in time, such as freedom of expression, are misunderstood in a different context. They were accused of enemy propaganda for launching phrases by Martí and Maceo, who without a doubt, if they were alive, would be enemies for a dictatorship in many aspects similar and even worse, to the Spanish colonial power which they opposed”, assured the journalist José Raúl Gallego, condemning the sentence.

Valle Roca has been in provisional prison since June 15, 2021, when the Police arrested him after summoning him to a police unit, supposedly to close a 2020 investigation for the crime of resistance. The day before his arrest, Valle had reported on the launching of leaflets with messages in favor of democracy from a Havana building, on his YouTube channel “Deliberate.”

During the time he has been imprisoned, the journalist has suffered the 15 types of torture described by the organization Prisoners Defenders (PD), which presented a document to the UN denouncing patterns of mistreatment in Cuban prisons.

The list is made up of: deprivation of medical care, forced labor outside of their criminal sentence, obligation to maintain uncomfortable or harmful positions, solitary confinement punishment, use of temperature as a mechanism of torture, physical aggression, transfer to unknown locations , intentional disorientation, deprivation of water or food, sleep and communication with lawyers and relatives, threats to their integrity and that of their loved ones, deployment of weapons or elements of torture, intentional subjection to anguish and uncertainty due to situation of a family member and humiliation, degradation and verbal abuse.

The case of Valle Roca – 60 years old – was mentioned with special attention in the semi-annual report on Cuba of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), presented in April. In addition, in a statement, the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP) condemned the sanction against the journalist and demanded that the Government release him immediately. Similarly, the NGO Cuban Observatory of Human Rights, based in Madrid, also condemned the sentence.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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