The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Villa Clara, Cuba, requested 10 years of deprivation of liberty for Lisdany and Lidiani Rodríguez Isac, two sisters who peacefully demonstrated on July 11 (11-J), 2021 in Placetas, Villa Clara province, and who are currently serving a precautionary measure of preventive detention in the Guamajal women’s prison, in the same province. The young women of 22 years they are being accused of ‘contempt’, ‘vandalism’, ‘spread of epidemics’, ‘attack’ and ‘public disorder’. The mother of these two of the triplets, Bárbara Isac, received the information from the defense attorney, Olga Mari Montiel.
“This is unfair. They are asking them for 10 years as if they had done something serious. They did not kill anyone, they did not plant bombs, my daughters did not attack anyone, all they did was participate peacefully in the July 11 marches. Everything they are accused of is a lie; they want to sink their lives. When they told the delegate, Hector de la Fe Freire, that they could only accuse them for participating in the peaceful protests, he himself told them, in front of me, that he was going to take charge of putting them in jail, “the mother told ABC.
Aggressions and terrible conditions
The sisters were arrested in the early morning of July 17 at their home; the delegate of the Popular Power of his locality, together with several officials of the State Security, appeared at the scene. The sisters claim to have been beaten, as well as to have witnessed similar violence against other detainees.
Since then, the mother has not been able to see them, only to speak with them on a few occasions by phone. It was in this way that they explained the terrible conditions of food, hygiene and overcrowding in which they find themselves in the prison.
“I participated in the demonstration because I wanted to, because it is a right,” Lisdany said in one of those calls, which her mother recorded and provided to ABC.
Regarding the accusations, his sister Lidiani says: «I do not agree with what they are telling me, everything is a lie, everything is being invented; the proofs are in the videos of that day; In Placetas no one threw stones, nor was there a broken shop ». It also ensures that State Security officials constantly visit them in prison to question and threaten them.
Bárbara Isac explains that in the file they included two alleged witnesses, State Security officials, who affirm that their daughters attacked them. “That’s a lie. I don’t understand how they can lend themselves to such cowardice. It is even a shame what they are doing in order to put them in jail ».
The lady has several serious health conditions that prevent her from working, has been in the care of a 3-year-old granddaughter, and lives on the charity of family and friends, even having to sell part of her belongings and those of her daughters to be able to subsist; “But yes, I have to support them, even if I have to sell my house,” he says.
Her granddaughter, Nazlihe constantly asks about his mother. «Sometimes I have to ask a friend to talk to her on the phone as if she were her mother, but the girl does not believe it, she says that her mother does not speak like that. I also tell her that her mother does not come because she is working in a cookie store to bring her enough cookies, she tells me that she does not want her mother to work there anymore, that what she wants is for her to come and give her lots of kisses ».
Because of her participation in the J11 protests, one of the young women was also expelled from her workplace. The school principal sent the message to the mother. “This is an injustice, an abuse, they have the right to think what they want, and they have said it, that they could sentence them to one hundred years for demonstrating, that was their right,” explains the mother.
Prisoners for peacefully demonstrating
At a press conference on July 24, 2021, Chief Justice Pupular, Rubén Remigio Ferro He declared: “Diverse opinions, even those of a different political sense from the one prevailing in the country, do not constitute crimes; thinking differently, questioning, is not a crime; demonstrating, far from constituting a crime, constitutes a people’s constitutional right; freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, of beliefs, even of political or ideological affiliation, does not constitute a crime ”.
However, Prisoners Defenders (PD) estimates that the numbers of arrests for 9/11 could be between the six thousand and eight thousand, cataloging the situation as “the terror in Cuba.” For its part, the NGO Cubalex reports at least 1,078 detainees after 11-J; 533 of them remain in prison, most of them for peacefully protesting against the Cuban regime.
To date, the authorities have refused to report official numbers of detainees. Faced with international pressure, the official press has been bringing to light some data, although insufficient; the work of NGOs and independent media, as well as the constant complaints from the victims and their families, is what makes it possible to assess the seriousness of the situation.
On August 18, the official press reported a total of sixty seven people processed through summary trials, of which only one was acquitted, and only 42 had legal assistance. Since then, it is known from the information of the independent press and NGOs that these processes have continued but it is impossible to determine the real number of people sanctioned and what those sentences consist of due to the secrecy and lack of transparency on the part of the Havana regime.