The United States imposed new sanctions on five officials of the Cuban regime involved in the trials and convictions of hundreds of people who demonstrated against the Castro regime in the historic protests of July 11, 2021.
In a statement, the US State Department highlighted that it took “these measures to impose visa restrictions on five Cuban officials under Presidential Proclamation 5377, which suspends the entry of non-immigrants to the United States of officials and employees of the Cuban government. ”.
“These five officials are associated with the unfair trials, wrongful conviction, and incarceration of peaceful protesters on July 11, 2021. This announcement of visa restrictions comes in response to the actions of Cuban government officials who deny the Cubans their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms”, highlighted the department led by Antony Blinken.
The letter also highlighted that “the actions build on previous efforts to promote accountability of Cuban officials who enable government human rights abuses and repression, including four Treasury Department sanctions actions enacted since 9/11. July, and the Department’s November 30, 2021 and January 6, 2022 announcements of measures to impose visa restrictions. These measures underscore our commitment to support the Cuban people.”
This week, the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Cuba (FGR) reported that so far the country’s courts have issued 76 final sentences against 381 people for the demonstrations against the dictatorship on July 11 (11J).
78% of those sanctioned (297) received sentences of up to 25 years in prison, according to the FGR in a press release released on Monday by the official press. Among those sentenced there are young people between 16 and 18 years old. The minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16.
Most of the crimes they were charged with are sedition; sabotage; robbery with force and violence; attempt; contempt and public disorder. A total of 36 protesters were convicted of sedition and received sentences ranging from 5 to 25 years in prison.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, 84 people had their deprivation of liberty subsidized by other types of sanctions such as correctional work with and without internment, and limitation of liberty. Among them there are 15 young people between 16 and 18 years old.
The note from the FGR does not clarify the total number of people between 16 and 18 who have been convicted.
The numbers released on Monday do not coincide with those that have been published by different NGOs since the trials for 11J began to take place at the end of 2021.
Prisoners Defenders noted on June 8 that a total of 168 protesters have been prosecuted solely for the crime of sedition. And that 246 have firm prison sentences of 10 years or more.
At the end of May, the organization Justicia 11J reported that 519 of the 564 people who have been tried in Cuba for the demonstrations – 92% – were convicted and 40 are still awaiting their sentence.
The Cuban Attorney General’s Office assured in January that 790 people have been prosecuted, of which 55 are between 16 and 17 years old.
Relatives of those convicted and NGOs have criticized these actions, alleging lack of guarantees, fabrication of evidence and high sentences. Foreign media do not have access to trials. Amnesty International requested to be able to attend the trials.