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Human Rights

"Release them now!" – U.S. speaks out against trials of Cuban 11J protesters

The United States rejected this week's trials against demonstrators who participated in the anti-government protests of July 11 in Cuba

EEUU rechazó los juicios contra manifestantes de las protestas ocurridas el 11 y 12 de julio de 2021 en la isla.
EEUU rechazó los juicios contra manifestantes de las protestas ocurridas el 11 y 12 de julio de 2021 en la isla. | Archivo

January 12, 2022 6:10pm

Updated: January 22, 2022 10:17pm

The United States, through its Embassy in Havana, rejected this week's trials against demonstrators that took part in Cuba’s anti-government protests on July 11 and 12, 2021.

"It is outrageous that 57 Cubans, including 14 teenagers, from Havana, Santa Clara, and Holguin are to be tried this week facing up to 30 years in prison for peacefully participating in the 11J protests or sharing videos on social networks," posted the official Twitter account of the U.S. embassy.

"Release them now! #PresosPorQué, (WhyPrisoners)" posted the U.S. diplomatic delegation.

During the week of January 10, there will be three trials in various Cuban provinces for at least 57 demonstrators from last summer, reported 11J, a group that follows politically motivated detentions in the island. Most of those tried are charged with public disorder, contempt of court and assault, reported Justicia.

"No media outlet of the Cuban authorities has so far reported the execution of ordinary trials of at least 223 demonstrators. At least another 234 people have tax petitions awaiting trial. Another 98 people have been fined and 9 have had their cases dismissed," said the group

Some 48 minors under the age of 18 have been confirmed among those arrested since 11J, 15 of whom remain in correctional facilities, according to Justice 11J.

"We add to our list, confidentially, the information of 3 children of 12, 13, and 14 years old respectively, who are serving the administrative sanction of one year of internment in the detention center for minors called Escuela de Formación Integral de Matanzas, for their participation in the protests in Cardenas," said the activist group.

There are around 1,355 people detained in connection with the July 11 protests, at least 719 remain in detention centers, 70 of them women. Of the 593 people who have been released, many are awaiting trial on bail or house arrest. A total of 158 people are being or have already been prosecuted on charges of "sedition" and 40 on charges of "sabotage," reported Justicia 11J and legal information center Cubalex.

Last Thursday the U.S. government announced measures against Cuban officials for the "harsh and unjust sentences" against 11J protesters. However, it did not reveal the names of those sanctioned by the State Department.

"Due to harsh and unjust sentences imposed on peaceful protesters, the State Department today took action to impose visa restrictions on eight Cuban officials involved in attempts to silence the voices of the Cuban people through repression, unjust detentions, and harsh prison sentences," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.