The Biden administration banned 5 Cuban judges from coming into the United States over their involvement in “unfair trials” of anti-government protesters who took to the streets on July 11 final 12 months, the State Department mentioned Friday.
“We took steps to suspend entry into the United States of five Cuban judges,” a State Department spokesperson advised the Herald. “These judges are connected to unfair trials and unjust sentencing and imprisonment of peaceful July 11, 2021, protesters.”
In an announcement, the State Department cited a Reagan-era presidential proclamation that suspends “non immigrant entry” into the United States of officers and staff of the Cuban authorities because the authorized foundation for the visa restrictions. Before Friday’s announcement, the Biden administration had banned 17 Cuban officers from coming into the nation over their function within the detention and sentencing of July 11 protesters.
“The Cuban justice system is widely known to manufacture false or unjust charges such as ‘sedition’ against peaceful protesters, to silence dissidents and intimidate critics,” Brian A. Nichols, State’s assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere affairs, mentioned on Twitter. “Restricting visas is another step towards promoting accountability.”
The State Department spokesperson mentioned the company couldn’t disclose the names of the 5 officers as a result of visa data are confidential beneath U.S. legislation.
Cuban overseas minister Bruno Rodriguez mentioned the journey ban was an “act of aggression” based mostly on “mendacious and absolutely unfounded allegations.”
The announcement comes after the Cuban General Attorney’s Office confirmed Monday that Cuban judges had handed sentences to 381 protesters, together with 16 youngsters between 16 and 18 years previous, beneath “sedition” and “sabotage” costs. The Cuban authorities first denied it was prosecuting minors.
Thirty-six protesters charged with “sedition” obtained sentences of as much as 25 years in jail. Courts of enchantment lowered the sentences of 15 of the youngsters, however the General Attorney’s workplace warned they may return to jail in the event that they break the situations dictated by the courts.
Previously, the Herald reported that Cuban courts of enchantment had lowered the lengthy sentences the native courts had handed all the way down to a minimum of 31 minors and younger adults who participated within the July demonstrations. Most had been quickly launched, however some had been despatched again to jail.
Activists mentioned they imagine the federal government agreed to the releases in anticipation of a crucial analysis by the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child printed this month urging Cuba to place “an end to any arbitrary restrictions and criminalization of children’s exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” in reference to the youngsters imprisoned for collaborating within the demonstrations.
So far, 297 protesters had been given jail sentences, the General Attorney’s Office mentioned. But it didn’t present any particulars of a whole bunch of pending circumstances. In January, the workplace mentioned it was prosecuting greater than 700 folks who participated in final 12 months’s demonstrations, together with 55 between the ages of 16 and 18.
Activists say the Cuban authorities has not been clear with the info concerning the arrests and the trials in reference to the July protests. Justicia 11J and Cubalex, two teams monitoring the state of affairs of the prisoners, mentioned they’ve documented at least 1,481 detentions and that 732 folks stay in jail.
Several organizations, together with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, mentioned a number of July 11 protesters didn’t have honest trials and that the cruel sentences are disproportionate.
Despite worldwide condemnation, the trials have continued. On Friday, a court docket of enchantment in Havana was anticipated to listen to the case of Brenda Diaz, a transgender girl sentenced to 14 years for collaborating within the demonstrations within the city of Guira de Melena, close to Havana.
Also on Friday, 18 human rights and civil organizations, together with Penn America, printed an announcement calling on the Cuban authorities to right away launch visible artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and rapper Maykel ‘Osorbo’ Castillo. They had been tried on May 30 and 31 and have been in jail since final July.
They are distinguished voices of the dissident group of artists and teachers generally known as Movimiento San Isidro. Castillo was the winner of two Grammys for the track “Patria y Vida,” which turned an anthem for the protesters. They had been charged with contempt, defamation, public dysfunction and face sentences of as much as 10 years in jail.
“The charges filed against both artists reflect the contempt of Cuban authorities for freedom of artistic expression and an alarming tendency to employ persecution, arbitrary arrests and accusations against dissenting voices,” the group mentioned.
This story was initially printed June 17, 2022 5:09 PM.