The United States promised this Thursday to work with its allies to support political prisoners in Cuba after the massive protests last July, noting that more than 550 protesters have already been sentenced and more than 700 remain under arrest.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Joe Biden administration is “deeply concerned” about what it called “harsh sentences imposed on political protesters” on the island, including “prison, hard labor or other punitive measures.” ”.
“We will continue to work with our partners around the world to demonstrate our collective support for the rights of Cubans unjustly detained,” Price said in a statement.
Price said Cuban judges sentenced more than 550 protesters, including more than 20 minors at the time of arrest.
In addition, he pointed out that the Cuban regime keeps more than 700 participants in the protests of July 11, 2021, in detention, when thousands took to the streets throughout Cuba claiming to be “hungry” and asking for “the end of the dictatorship.” .
“Despite video and photographic evidence to the contrary, the Cuban government attempts to justify its draconian arrests, prosecutions and sentences by falsely claiming that the protests were largely violent,” Price said.
And he denounced “exemplary” sentences for demonstrators from impoverished neighborhoods in Havana, such as La Guinera and 10 de Octubre, which have “significant” Afro-Cuban populations, “accusing them of sedition and issuing the harshest sentences of up to 26 years in prison.”
“Six defendants from these neighborhoods, 16 or 17 years old at the time of their arrest, received up to five years of hard labor,” he noted.
Price also highlighted that officials of the Cuban regime continue to “harass and threaten” relatives of detained protesters, in order to generate “fear of reprisals.”
The Cuban regime claims that the protests were orchestrated from the United States.
Cuba, under a single-party regime, the Communist, since the revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959, is a sensitive issue in the domestic politics of the United States, which is home to an important community of Cuban exiles, especially in Florida.
According to the NGO Prisoners Defenders, from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022, a total of 1,236 people have suffered political imprisonment.
“At this specific moment, with data closing as of May 31, 2022, the list of political prisoners in Cuba contains 1,046 political prisoners suffering judicial sentences, as well as provisions limiting their freedom by prosecutors without any judicial supervision. , in flagrant violation of international law and due process,” denounced the NGO.
In its latest report, the organization indicated that it carried out a study of some of the most flagrant generalized violations of international law, common to the 1,236 indictment processes.
These are: “Detention of more than 24 hours and provisional prison; always imposed by the accusing party (police and prosecution) without any judicial supervision; they have only had ‘lawyers’ dependent on the Government; they have not had access to the case and the complete file of their accusation; trials have been held behind closed doors; the expert evidence is all partial, since the experts depend on and work for the Ministry of the Interior; and the witnesses were all policemen, members of the organizations of the ruling party or State officials.”