“Asking for freedom is not a crime and you do not have to serve seven or two, no year, and I ask freedom for my husband, for my cousin and for all the political prisoners who are right now in Cuba,” said Leisy Torres, wife of the political prisoner Eloy Bárbaro Cardoso Pedroso, in an interview this Wednesday by The mornings of CiberCuba.
Cardoso Pedroso, 18, was one of the participants in the July 2021 protests in the La Güinera district, in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality. He was studying Civil Construction at that time. His arrest took place on July 19, while he was at his grandmother’s house, and the police said they just wanted to ask him a few questions. However, they accused him of public disorder and attack, then sedition, and the prosecution asked him for 15 years of deprivation of liberty.
His trial, like that of 19 other protesters from his neighborhood, began on January 10 and will conclude today. As in the rest of the judicial processes that have been developed so far, complaints of violations of the rights of the accused have been the norm.
Only one relative of each protester has been able to enter the court, the rest have had to wait outside, under constant police and military surveillance. Servilia Pedroso Araújo, in an interview with CiberCuba shortly before his trial began, he declared that he expects the worst possible outcome. “I am going to go to the trial to accompany my son, but I would not even want to attend, because I know that everything is a lie,” said Pedroso Araújo.
The testimony now of Leisy Torres, 22, confirms her mother-in-law’s suspicions. He assures that the prosecution’s witnesses “were all policemen, colonels, instructors,” some even from another municipality, and that their statements did not agree with each other. Furthermore, none of them knew the accused.
“They said: ‘no, I don’t know any of them because I couldn’t see their faces, I don’t know if he was throwing stones, if he attacked me, because I couldn’t see their faces.’ They were close, others who were far, they did not know well, “he explained.
Similar complaint has carried out, from Santa Clara, Roxana García Lorenzo, younger sister of the political prisoner Andy Garcia Lorenzo, a July 11 protester in that city. The young activist affirmed that the prosecution had presented 29 witnesses and “that they are all police officers, State Security officers, telling a thousand lies.”
Torres considered that in the Havana trial it was possible to appreciate that the crime of sedition was not fair. The lawyers would have said that, more accurately, it would be an accusation of public disorder; despite the fact that the Constitution recognizes the right to demonstrate for lawful and peaceful purposes.
The violence in La Güinera, where the death of a protester by a police officer was reported, arose in reaction to the repression of the regime forces. “There was a confrontation with the uniformed men, since they attacked them (the accused).”
In total, in these trials four 18-year-olds are being tried, among whom is Eloy Bárbaro Cardoso, and they were all being asked for 15 years in prison. However, at the conference it was announced that their fiscal requests had been lowered to seven years of deprivation of liberty. The situation of the rest of the defendants remains the same, they ask them between 15 and 26 years behind bars.
So far, nearly 300 people have been tried for participating in the July 2021 anti-government protests, both in summary and ordinary trials. This week, the number will increase by 66 new cases, once the processes taking place in Villa Clara, Mayabeque, Havana and Holguín conclude.